I actually had to search my blog to make sure that I hadn’t already posted this recipe, as I’ve been making it for years, and it’s truly one of the best damn things I make.
As soon as I realized that it wasn’t on here, I got to work with typing it up. (Literally, in between bites, haha.) I love it because a) it’s delicious b) it’s easy c) I hate every other chicken and dumplings recipe that exists on the internet.
Ok, hate is a strong word, but I’m telling you—I’ve read them all (THERE ARE SO MANY), and every chicken and dumplings recipe out there was either very heavy with condensed soup and/or heavy cream (too heavy for my liking), or included rolled and cut dumplings (I know this is traditional for Southern recipes, but I wanted the fat, biscuity kind), or called for random ingredients that I wouldn’t normally have on hand (evaporated milk, rendered chicken fat, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider, turmeric, mustard powder?! What in the Ina Garten are people thinking?!). The recipes were either overly simplistic (i.e. the pre-cooked chicken and condensed soup–WHY wouldn’t you cook the chicken IN the stew to get all of that flavor?) or ridiculously, unnecessarily complicated (I see you, Bon Appetit, with the instructions to start with making stock from a whole chicken. Like, come on).
As with most of my cooking, I wanted a recipe that was simple yet delicious, comforting but not heavy. In my mind, chicken and dumplings should really just be chicken noodle soup, but a little bit richer and heartier, with some biscuit-y dumplings on top. The closest recipe to this that I was able to find was unsurprisingly written by Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen (my holy trinity of food writers are Deb, Ina, and Jenny Rosenstrach of Dinner: A Love Story—they can do no wrong). Deb’s method is great, but I still messed with the ingredient list a bunch…so I feel like I can take the liberty to call this Tara’s Chicken and Dumplings. You’re cool w that, right? 🙂
I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. Please make it for those you love, and let me know what you think!
Tara’s Chicken & Dumplings
4 tbsps butter
Salt and pepper
1 package boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1.5 lbs)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
3 celery, chopped
1 container chopped white or baby Bella mushrooms (optional; but I love the extra flavor and texture!)
A few sprigs of fresh thyme or a teaspoon of dried thyme (optional)
6 tbsps all-purpose flour
6 cups chicken stock (or 1 4 cup container chicken stock + 2 cups of water)
1/4 cup whole milk
Frozen peas (optional)
Chopped fresh parsley (optional, for garnish + freshness)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 tbsps butter
1 cup whole milk
Handful of chopped fresh parsley (optional, but makes them look prettier)
- Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat. Salt and pepper the chicken thighs, and add them to the pot. Cook until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes, and remove to a plate. Lower the heat to medium.
- Melt the 4 tbsps of butter in the same pot. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook until softened, about five minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes more. Season with salt, pepper and thyme if using.
- Add the 6 tbsps flour to the vegetables and cook, stirring, until vegetables are coated and no white flour remains.
- Add the stock (or stock + water), give the mixture a good stir, and add the chicken back in. Increase the heat to high, bring the mixture to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20-30 minutes, or longer if you have time.
- Remove the chicken thighs from the stew, shred the meat with two forks, then add back in, along with the 1/4 cup of milk and the peas.
- Bring the mixture back up to a simmer. In the meantime, make the dumplings!
- To make the dumplings, stir the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, heat the milk and butter together in the microwave for one minute, until just warmed.
- Combine the milk-butter mixture with the flour mixture (plus fresh parsley if using) and stir until JUST COMBINED. This is important, people! Over-mixing leads to tough, heavy dumplings, and we don’t want that!
- Once the stew is at a nice simmer over medium heat, scoop out a heaping tablespoon of the dumpling batter and use a second tablespoon to push the spoonful of dough on top of the simmering stew. Continue to scoop-n-plop your dumplings over the top of the stew, leaving a little bit of room between each one, as they will puff up and expand as they cook.
- Cover the pot with a lid, and let the dumplings steam until they’ve doubled in size, about 15 to 18 minutes. Don’t peek!
- Once the dumplings are cooked, I like to give them a quick flip over in the stew to make sure they’re all coated and ready to go. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve it up, girl!! The. Best.