Do you ever make a meal because it reminds you of someone? When you eat it, you can almost feel that person with you? Growing up my grandmother from Texas made chicken and dumplings on very rare occasions. From scratch, so delicious! A meal that will always remind me of her and her kitchen. This comfort food staple takes minimum ingredients to execute, but for a truly homemade version you are going to need a bit of time on your hands. None of this is difficult, just requires some patience! I will offer up some short cuts but if you have the time, it’s definitely worth it.
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: Approx. 4 hours Servings: 4-6
Here’s what you need:
- 1 whole chicken
- 2-3 carrots (about 2 cups) rough chopped
- 1 large onion peeled and rough chopped
- 1 head of garlic cloves (peeled and smashed)
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1 TBSP peppercorns (ground black pepper is fine too)
- 3-4 TBSP salt
- 2 cups flour (and some for the flouring the board)
- 2 TBSP butter cubed very small
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2-3/4 cups milk
- Salt to taste
- about 4-6 cups water
To get started you need to break down your chicken a bit. If you aren’t comfortable butchering one yourself, I highly recommend buying it already broken down or have the butcher counter do it for you. That’s what they are there for! You want it in large pieces to put it in the large pot.
It’s time to cook the chicken and make your homemade stock. YUM. In a large stock pot add your chicken, carrots, onion, garlic, parsley, pepper, and salt. Once all the ingredients are nestled nicely, fill the pot with water until all ingredients are just covered. This is about 4-6 cups of water. Put a lid on it and gently simmer on low for about 2 hours. You want the chicken to easily pull from the bone.
When the chicken is cooked, pull it out of the pot into a separate container and let it cool in the fridge. When it’s cool enough to handle, remove all bones and shred the chicken. Keep the shredded chicken refrigerated until it’s time to add back in later.
Next, strain the liquid from the remaining contents of the stock pot into a large bowl and discard the vegetables and herbs. Put the strained liquid back into the original pot.
Now it’s time to make the dumplings! In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and a hearty pinch of salt. Next add your cubed butter. You want to use your hands to work the butter into the flour mixture. This takes a little time to get it incorporated into the flour. Smash it between your fingers to really work it in.
When the butter is completely incorporated and worked into the flour, you will begin adding the milk a splash at a time. You might not use the full amount of milk. Each time you add a splash of milk use your hands to gently combine. You will continue to do this until the dough begins to stick together but is not sticky. It should seem a little dry. If it gets too sticky, sprinkle in a bit more flour. When the dough can form a firm ball it’s ready.
Back to your pot of reserved stock. Add a cup of water to the stock and begin to simmer it on low.
While it starts to simmer it is time to roll and cut the dough. On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 1/4″ thick sheet. Cut into approximately 1.5″x1.5″ dumplings. Using a pizza cutter makes this way easier!
Add the dumplings to your stock and simmer on low, covered, for approximately 2 hours or until dumplings are fully cooked. Take a peak at the dumplings at the halfway point. If the liquid is too thick, add another 1/2-1 cup of water for the dumplings to continue cooking. The dumplings will naturally thicken your broth and turn it into a creamy sauce.
When your dumplings have simmered in the broth for approximately 2 hours and are fully cooked through, it’s time to pull out your refrigerated shredded chicken and add it back into the pot. Let everything cook together until the chicken is nice and hot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Time to eat! I like to garnish with some fresh chopped parsley and serve. I hope this meal brings you comfort like it does to me.
I realize this recipe does require a time commitment. If you have the time, DEFINITELY give it a try. All the steps are easy and it uses staple ingredients, you just need to provide the time. IF you don’t have the time I have some hacks you can use to cut the time in half for a cozy comfort meal below.
To speed up this dinner, replace the whole chicken and homemade stock with a whole rotisserie chicken shredded and 4 cups of chicken stock and 2 cups of water. There is not a great replacement for homemade dumplings, so I recommend you suck it up and make those from scratch! These are what help turn your stock into a creamy sauce.
In a large pot simmer your boxed stock and water over low heat. Add your dumplings and simmer for 2 hours. When the stock has thickened and the dumplings are cooked through, add your shredded rotisserie chicken. Let this all simmer together until chicken is hot. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with fresh chopped parsley and serve.