Chicken and Dumplings
My mother-in-law, the genius behind Granny Annie's Sloppy Joes, introduced me to chicken and dumplings when Michael and I first met. I was barely 21 years old and had never even heard of chicken and dumplings. It wasn't in our dinner rotation in my home. Apparently, my dad doesn't like the dish. He didn't like beef stroganoff either and we could only get mom to cook that for us when dad was traveling. Truth be told, when Michael told me that's what was for dinner, I turned my nose up. I just thought to myself, why would anyone want to eat soggy biscuits. However, I wasn't going to be rude and I sucked up my less than foodventurous self and headed to dinner.
Boy, was I young and dumb. Granny came through with a delicious belly warming meal. As if I should've doubted the women behind my favorite recipe for Sloppy Joes.
Over the years, I've played with my own version of chicken and dumplings and here is the recipe I make when the weather drops below 50 degrees.
3 lbs of bone-on chicken breasts
1 celery stalk
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon of peppercorns
1 teaspoon of salt
Place all the ingredients into a Dutch oven, add enough water just to cover the chicken and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken breast reaches 165 degrees, about 35-50 minutes. The time will depend on the thickness of your chicken breasts.
Once the chicken has cooked thoroughly, remove the breasts, peel off the skin and shred with a fork. Strain the vegetables from the stock. DON'T throw away the stock, you will use this for the soup.
While your chicken is poaching, prepare the rest of the ingredients.
2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons of baking powder
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
A handful of chopped parsely
1 cup of buttermilk
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and the parsley.
Add the wet ingredients and set aside.
CHICKEN & DUMPLINGS:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of flour
1 1/2 cup of cubed Yukon Gold potatoes
1 1/2 cups of chopped carrots
1 cup of celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup of frozen sweet peas
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup of extra dry vermouth or dry white wine
1 teaspoon of French thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon of sage
1 teaspoon of rosemary
3-4 teaspoons of chicken bouillon, optional and to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Shredded poached chicken
Stock from poached chicken, about 6-8 cups
1 dumplings recipe
Once you have strained the veggies from the stock, place the Dutch oven back on the stove over medium high heat. Add the olive oil, butter, potatoes, carrots, celery, onion and bay leaf. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
After the veggies have softened, add the flour, thyme, sage and rosemary and cook for an additional minute. Pour in the vermouth or white wine while scraping the crusty bits from the bottom of the pan. Slowly add the chicken stock while continuously stirring. Place the shredded chicken into the pot and bring the soup to a boil.
Give it a taste. If you think you want a touch more flavor, add a teaspoon or two of the chicken bouillon, salt and pepper.
Add the peas to the soup. Don't forget the peas! I always forget the peas.
Gather up a large spoonful of dumpling batter and add to the soup. You should get 7-9 dumplings.
Cover the Dutch oven and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat to the stove and let the soup rest for 10 minutes. The dumplings will help turn the broth into the perfect gravy.
Ladle the soup into bowls, giving each person a dumpling or two.
PREPARATION TIP:This soup reheats nicely, but you will need to add additional chicken broth. Heat the soup over the stove and add enough broth to restore to a soup like consistency, usually a cup for 2 servings. When the soup reaches 165 degrees, the soup is ready to eat. You can store the uneaten soup in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
This soup yields 8 servings.