Chicken and Dumplings + A Little Life Lately
If you’re like me, when you hear Chicken + Dumplings, you think of the elementary cafeteria and the ‘mystery’ that would be slopped onto your plate and called Chicken + Dumplings. I had some friends who LIVED for Chicken + Dumpling Day. I was NOT one of those people. I dreaded that day. The soggy “dumpling” and the canned, processed chicken and sauce did not a yummy lunch make. I thought I’d give it a go and try a real recipe a few years ago, and OH YES – definitely not like the cafeteria days.
Before I get to the recipe, here’s a little of our life lately:
This seasoning is the bomb.com. If you like everything bagels, you’ll love this stuff. I put it on my English muffin + cream cheese and have a couple of chicken sausage links on the side for my breakfast. Only about 230 calories and soooooo yummy!
I don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby, so I ordered mine on Amazon:
Uhhhhmmmm… if your daily getup involves elastic waistbands and/or draw strings, then you need these pants. I posted about these during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (they’re still a great price now though). They’re super soft and comfy, plus they’re slimming so you don’t scream “Frumpy McFrumperson”. They’re just one step away from sweatpants, but I don’t even care. They’re my besties right now.
They’re the perfect pants for building blocks with homeboy, too, I must say.
It’s nothing really newsworthy, but we got a “grown up” piece of artwork for our bedroom. Hobby Lobby had this bad boy at 50% off, so I snagged him immediately! The blues fit perfectly with our bedroom decor.
We’ve still got a few other house projects until I’ll feel “finished” after our move (almost a year later). Y’all. It’s a friggin’ process.
Penny’s been breaking my heart lately. This baby girl needs a companion badly. Ever since Osa passed in April, she’s been slowly getting better but I can tell she’s still a bit depressed. I’m trying to convince Jon to let us get her a sister, but no luck yet. Stay tuned though… I have some skills in persuasion.
Nooooooooooow for this lovely bowl of comfort food. I have to say Jon Boy was extremely surprised when I told him the calorie count per serving. This recipe makes 6 very good sized portions coming in at (drum roll, please)…
405 calories per serving (14g fat; 21g protein)
Nope, you didn’t read it wrong. Only 405 calories per serving! Wham, bam, thank you, ma’am.
One of the BEST things about this recipe for Chicken + Dumplings is the fact that you get a TON of leftover, homemade chicken stock. All you have to do is throw it in some freezer-safe containers and store it up to 6 months. It’ll save you some money, plus it tastes WAYYYYYYY better than the store bought stuff. No joke.
In the recipe, it says to cut the garlic head by the equator and throw it into the stock pot. It means to cut it like the picture below, and throw the whole thing in (paper and all). You’ll strain out the solid stuff from the stock later, so no worries about the mess.
The stock is as simple as they come:
garlic + bay leaves + thyme + black peppercorn + Kosher salt + a biggo chicken + cold water
Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
I always have at least 6 quarts of leftover chicken stock that I throw in the freezer. I use 6-8 cups in the recipe, too, so that should tell you how much yummy stock you can get from this lil recipe. Also – word to the wise – always label your tupperware when you freeze something. I had a bad mixup one time when I thought I was thawing cooked, shredded chicken and instead I thawed an entire quart of jambalaya. Whoopsie poopsie!
The original recipe I started from years ago is from Tyler Florence. I loooooove me some Tyler. He has/had a show on Food Network (not sure if it’s still on air), and I really liked the way he broke down the technique and steps in his recipes. I learned a lot just by watching his show. For example, don’t over-mix your biscuit mix otherwise they’ll be too dense. Just fold it together until it looks like this:
Y’all. I can’t even with these biscuits. So light, easy, and delicious. The balance of the dumpling + the sauce are perfect in this recipe! Not too much sauce, not too much biscuit. Yummo!
Chicken and Dumplings
Chicken and Stock
1 5 lb. whole organic chicken
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs thyme
5 black peppercorns
1 head garlic, split through the equator
2 tbs. Kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
¼ cup chopped chives
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbs. unsalted butter
2 tbs. EVOO
2 carrots, peeled and diced (or about 10 baby carrots, diced)
2 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
8 cups chicken stock, divided (may not use all of this)
¼ cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen pearl onions
Chopped chives, for garnish
For the Stock
Place the chicken and all stock ingredients in a large Dutch oven or pot and cover with cold water. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 1/2 hours until the chicken is tender and cooked through. Occasionally, skim the surface of fat and scum.
When finished, remove the chicken to a cutting board and allow to cool. Shred the chicken into large pieces. Place a large sieve into an even larger bowl and pour in the chicken stock to strain. Discard the solids and save the chicken stock. (You should have way more than enough – usually at least 6 quarts remaining to freeze after you’ve cooked this recipe.)
Stock + chicken can be made up to three days ahead. Store in fridge in airtight containers, separately.
For the Dumplings
While chicken is cooking, sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, using a whisk, lightly beat the eggs, chives, and buttermilk together; pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently fold. Mix just until the dough comes together; the batter should be thick and cake-like. Do not over mix! This will make the biscuits tough. Refrigerate biscuit dough until ready to use.
For the Sauce
In a large Dutch oven, over medium heat, add the butter and oil. Add the carrot, celery, and bay leaves and sauté until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Sprinkle in 1/4 cup of flour to make a roux (this makes the sauce thicken). Continue to stir and cook for 2 minutes to coat the vegetables in the flour. Slowly pour in a total of 6 cups of chicken stock, one cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add heavy cream and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
Allow to simmer for 15 minutes, until thickened. If sauce is not thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, then combine 1 cup of chicken stock and 1/4 cup flour in a small measuring cup, whisking until smooth. Slowly pour this mixture in to the large pot, stirring to combine. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If this sauce is still not thick enough, repeat this process again (1 cup stock + 1/4 cup flour). Allow sauce to simmer at least 15 minutes after each addition. (I usually only do this once and it’s thick enough.)
Once sauce has thickened, add frozen peas and pearl onions. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Fold the reserved, shredded chicken (I use about 12 oz. chicken) into the sauce and turn the heat up to medium-high. Using 2 spoons, carefully drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the dumpling batter into the hot mixture. The dumplings should cover the top of the sauce, but should not be touching or crowded. Let the dumplings poach for 10 to 15 minutes until they are firm and puffy. Feel free to turn the dumplings, but not more than three times.
Garnish with chopped chives before serving.
Freeze reserved chicken stock and shredded chicken in airtight containers for up to 6 months for the stock and 3 months for the chicken.
Chicken and Dumplings + A Little Life Lately