Monday, October 24, 2011

Chicken & Dumplings

Mmm. What a comforting end to a crisp, fall day. My mom used to make something like this, and I realized I had never made it myself. I seldom hear about chicken and dumplings. It's a dish that's old-fashioned, modest and homey...actually, kind of farmy. The last time I ate it, I think I was at Bob Evan's on a road trip, hung over.

Before making it I was trying to explain to Dara what the dumplings are like, and I had trouble. Kind of like biscuits, but not. They're laid on top of rich chicken stew and steamed, and you want them fluffy, with lots of holes. So don't work the dough too much. In any case, this version (my own adaptation of the Joy recipe) was a smash hit, and we're adding it to the Sahebjami household's fall/winter menu. Come on over!

Serves 4-6

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup milk
1/4-1/3 cup minced fresh parsley

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 bone-in chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3 medium celery stalks, diced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 heavy cream

First, make the dumplings: Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Bring butter and milk to a simmer in a saucepan. Add butter-milk mixture and parsley to the dry mixture. Use a fork to stir until a dough comes together. Knead the dough just 2-3 times to smooth it out, but don't worry that it's not completely smooth. Cut the dough into 18 portions. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Next, make the stew: Heat butter in a large, heavy pot on medium heat. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add them to the butter. Cover and cook, turning occasionally, until chicken is browned on all sides. Remove chicken and set aside.

Add onion to butter and cover pot; let onion sweat for a minute or two, then remove lid. Saute onion until golden. Stir in flour and saute for 1 minute. Add broth and water. Turn heat to high and whisk until the broth bubbles; it should be smooth and have some body, almost like a sauce. Add carrots, celery, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper. Return chicken to the pot as well. Cover and simmer on low heat until the chicken is almost fully cooked, about 15 minutes.

Use tongs to remove the chicken and place it on a cutting board. Cut it off the bones and into shredded, bite-sized pieces. Return these pieces to the stew. Stir in the cream, taste the stew, and adjust seasoning as needed. Lay the reserved dumplings on top of the stew, cover pot, and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve.


  1. This is a retro dish that deserves a place in our kitchens.

  2. Awesome. I'm about 5 minutes away from your place right now. Can't wait to try it!

  3. Oh Molly...My mom makes the best chicken and dumplings but has no "recipe." I've tried lots of recipes, some pretty good and others not so much. I will definitely try this one. Warms my soul just thinking about it.