Chicken ‘n Dumplings

This is a favorite of Daughter #2.  I didn’t start making this recipe until after she got married, so I would make this for her often when dinner was at my house.  The entire family instantly fell in love with it, but it stood out for her.  Years ago, when I would research and print out new recipes to try, I made a note on this one so I wouldn’t forget how good it was and allow it to get buried in my piles of printed recipes. The notation simply reads, “Really Good!!!”  I recently made this for some of my grandchildren from Daughter #3 and all 3 of them licked the bowl clean!  Also, I was recently made aware that the lead campus monitor at my school had fond memories of eating chicken and dumplings as a child and I offered to make this for him.  After tasting it, he literally kneeled at my feet in gratitude.  If that isn’t an endorsement, I don’t know what is.

Trust me when I tell you this is addicting!  It is comfort food at it’s finest!  You may be tempted to start with a convenient roast chicken from the supermarket, but let me just say that so much of the flavor comes from the homemade chicken broth.  Do yourself a favor and take that extra step.  You will be happy you did.

Chicken ‘n Dumplings
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
 
Ingredients
  • Stew
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup onion, diced (about 1 medium)
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 large diced carrot
  • 3 chicken bouillion cubes
  • 1 whole chicken fryer
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 6 cups water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Dumplings
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons shortening
  • ¾ to 1 cup buttermilk*
Instructions
  1. In a large pot over high heat, saute onions, celery, carrots and bouillion cubes in butter until tender. Add whole chicken and garlic clove to pot and cover with 6 cups water. Cover and cook over medium heat until chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
  2. Carefully pull chicken and garlic out from pot and allow to cool on a cutting board or in a large bowl. Reduce heat to low simmer on broth to keep warm.
  3. In the meantime, in a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and dried basil. Cut in shortening. Make a well in the center and add ¾ cup of the buttermilk and carefully incorporate into the flour mixture, taking care not to overmix. Dough should be sticky. If dough is too dry, add more buttermilk until mixture is completely moistened, but not wet.
  4. Once the chicken is cool enough for you to handle, take off the meat and shred into bite-sized pieces. Add the chicken to the broth on the stove and bring to a low boil.
  5. Drop teaspoon size dumplings into the boiling stew one at a time. Do not stir the dumplings! Reduce heat to low and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid, allowing the dumplings to steam for 15 minutes.
  6. Once dumplings are cooked through, stir them into the stew and serve. The flour from the dumplings will thicken the stew.
Notes
*if you don't have buttermilk, you can use whole milk and add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar to the milk.

Et cetera:  If you do choose to use a store-bought roast chicken, add 6 cups of chicken stock instead of water to the stew.  Also, if you don’t have buttermilk, you can use whole milk, but the buttermilk gives the dumplings a great homespun flavor.   I live in an area where the smallest size of buttermilk is 1 quart, so I usually end up using the leftover to make my Coca-Cola Cake.  Winner, winner chicken dinner!  One more tip:  The first time I made this, everyone wanted more dumplings, so I made a separate pot of just dumplings, boiling them in a separate can of chicken stock.  I highly recommend doing this.