Classic Southern Chicken and Dumplings
Chicken and dumplings. Chicken ‘n’ pastry. Chicken and slicks. However you say it, it’s delicious. And this recipe is packed with veggies, protein, and homemade goodness. A perfect cold-weather snack that speaks of comfort and home.
This particular recipe features long, thick pastry strips, not round dumplings. Whatever you call it, it’s delicious.
Chicken and Dumplings
- Vegetable oil, as needed (or fat rendered from chicken)
- 1 yellow onions, diced (1 ½ c)
- 3 bunches celery diced (1 c)
- 2 carrots, diced (1 c)
- 2 tsp Thyme
- 1 T Dill
- 8 c Chicken stock, plus more as needed
- 2 c Heavy cream
- Salt and pepper, as needed
- 1 roasted chicken, pulled (use the carcass to make stock)
For the dumplings:
- 3 c flour
- 6-7 oz ice cold water
Heat a large pot over high heat. Add the vegetable oil then the mire pix (celery, onion, and carrot), sauté until vegetables tender but not caramelized. Add some salt and pepper, then the thyme and dill and sauté for another minute to bloom the spices. Add the stock, cream and chicken and bring to a high simmer. You should be able to see some convection movement.
While the stock is coming to temperature, make the dumplings. In a small bowl combine the flour and water. Mix thoroughly to create a dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out to a thickness of 1/8” to ¼”. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into your dumpling strips.
Once the stock is up to temperature, begin dropping the dumplings in. Drop a dozen at a time, stir, let the temperature come back up a bit, then add some more. Once all the dumplings have been incorporated, continue stirring occasionally and maintain the temperature. Don’t let it get too hot as it will scorch very easily.
Thickening your Chicken and Dumplings:
If you’d like to thicken the chicken and dumplings up a bit, add roux. To make roux melt 2 oz butter in a medium sauce pan. Once the butter is melted, add two ounces of flour and mix so that it looks like wet sand. Cook the roux over a medium –low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture smells bit toasty and nutty, about 5 minutes.
Using a ladle, add 4 oz of broth from the chicken and dumplings into the roux pan. It will tighten up immediately. Then add the contents of the roux pan directly back into the chicken and dumplings mixture, stirring thoroughly. You can repeat the process depending on how thick you like your chicken and dumplings.
Making stock is one of the easiest things to do. The best strategy is to give it time. Good stock looks a bit like jelly when it is cold. It is because, by simmering the bones in liquid over a long period of time, you extract all of the gelatin from the bones. Good stocks do take time, but very little effort.
To make stock, put the carcass in a large pot. For 1 or 2 carcasses add, 1 peeled carrot, 2 stalks celery, ½ yellow onion, 2 bay leaves, 6 black peppercorns, 4 sprigs of thyme and two crushed cloves of garlic. Aside from the carcass, everything else is aromatics. You can still make an excellent base with just a carcass, but adding the aromatics really brings it to the next level!
Cover the carcass and aromatics with cold water and put the pot on a burner over medium-high heat. Once it comes to a high simmer reduce heat and let the stock simmer for at least 4 hours. I have made great 12 hour stocks allowing the stock to simmer overnight the day before I need it. Ideally, the stock shouldn’t boil as it will lose clarity (you emulsify the fats into the broth when it boils). As it simmers, use a small ladle to skim the fat and impurities off the top.
After it has simmered long enough, strain it through a fine mesh sieve. The resulting stock should be relatively clear. If you let it cool overnight any other fats will rise to the top and solidify. You can literally pick the fat off the top of the stock and use it to start your chicken and dumplings!