Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ultimate Chicken and Dumplings

I've been craving this recipe for a while, ever since I saw Tyler Florence make this on "Tyler's Ultimate." I love chicken soup. Love dumplings. Love having all that in one big bowl :-)

The reviews on this recipe are raves, and I have to agree. It was so yummy...such simple comfort food. It was my daughter's first day of school today and I wanted to make something that said "welcome home, honey." This was it. She had two bowls (and so did I).
I already had homemade chicken stock (I use Ina Garten's recipe) but only had four cups in my freezer, so I cut down Tyler's recipe for stock a bit just to poach my chicken (I had some poached from making the Chicken Au Jus the other day (I used bone-in breasts instead of wings) so I only had to poach one more (instead of a whole chicken like the recipe called for).

Chicken and Stock:
1 (3 to 31/2 pound) whole organic chicken
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs thyme
4 to 5 black peppercorns
1 head garlic, split through the equator
2 tablespoons salt

Buttermilk-Chive Dumplings:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup chopped chives
3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk


2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons oil
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen pearl onions
1/4 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper, for garnish
Chopped chives, for garnish
I started this around 3:30, for eating a little after 5. It took a bit longer than I expected, but not much. Just a side note for folks :-)

Place the chicken and all stock ingredients in a large Dutch oven and cover with water. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour until the chicken is tender. Skim the surface of fat and scum as it cooks.

When done remove the chicken to a cutting board. Strain the stock and shred the meat into big pieces - the stock will be used for the sauce and the chicken will be folded into it.

NOTE: About 15 minutes before it's done, start the other steps. Otherwise, you'll be behind on the estimated time it takes to cook this.
Make dumplings. 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. (NOTE: I ended up using the full cup of buttermilk. This makes about twice as much dumpling batter as you need, but they're so darn good, I'm thinking about cooking all of it)

To prepare sauce: In a Dutch oven, over medium heat, add the butter and oil. Add the carrot, celery, garlic, (NOTE: I didn't have any frozen pearl onions so I chopped one onion and added it here. Also, I only had frozen pea and carrot mix so I skipped carrots here and added the bag of veggies at the end) and bay leaves and saute until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour to make a roux. Continue to stir and cook for 2 minutes to coat the flour and remove the starchy taste. Slowly pour in the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. (NOTE: This is a critical step--do it one cup at a time so it has time to thicken. In the end, I did add a small amount of cornstarch slurry to thicken even more). Add frozen peas and pearl onions.

Let sauce simmer until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Stir in heavy cream. (NOTE: I don't always have heavy cream on hand but had half-and-half and that seemed to work out okay).

Fold the reserved shredded chicken into the sauce and bring up to a simmer. Using 2 spoons (NOTE: you do want to do it this way...scoop with one spoon, scoop off it with the other, scoop with first spoon one more time to drop the dumplings in), 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 (NOTE: turn the dumplings over halfway through to cook on all sides). Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season with freshly cracked black pepper (NOTE: I also seasoned with a little more salt) and garnish with chopped chives before serving.

This was really good and my daughter said should go in the "keeper" folder. Ina, Giada and Tyler never let me down when I cook their recipes, and this recipe is no exception. I'll be making it often :-)
One tip--you can make homemade chicken stock VERY easily and anytime you need it if you just keep the bones from your chickens in the freezer. Bring home a rotisserie chicken? Save the carcass in a freezer bag until you're ready to make stock. I usually double my stock recipe (using two chicken carcasses) and make enough to freeze the stock in 2-cup containers so I always have fresh stock on hand for cooking.


  1. I make mine in a similar fashion. The difference being, I use the leftover chicken from a roast the day before, strip the chicken off and make stock from the carcass. It's a cheap, yummy, nutritious meal.


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