Chicken and Dumpling dinner success!
I know you're probably saying success?? How hard is that too make, but trust me there are differences. I love chicken and dumplings, wonderfully light as a feather dumplings with herbs and succulent chicken with carrots and scrumptious gravy........ oh sorry, I'm back now.
I did something different last night, where I would normally just brown the chicken first, I accidently prepared the chicken as if to fry it! I was on the phone, and on auto-pilot and floured and then fried the chicken. ooops. Wellafter thinking about what to do, I went ahead with the my original plan, and my gosh, it was just the best chicken and dumplings I've ever made. My husband was beside himself.
I've read some recipes and the chicken is put into the stew without browning and I'm interested. Just how do you all make yours???
Chicken and dumplings in my family are made from boiled chicken, removed from the bone afterward and returned to the broth. Seasoning is salt & pepper. There's nothing else in the broth, no onions, no celery, nothing.
The dumplings are basically biscuit dough, maybe reducing the baking powder a tiny bit, patted out to about 3/8" thick and cut in about 1-inch squares. These are dropped into the broth and cooked for about 10 minutes. Then if the broth isn't thick enough, you thicken it with a little bit of flour water.
Chicken and dumplings are served over a generous ration of mashed potatoes. For a vegetable to go with, I like steamed broccoli.
Chicken and dumplings are my number one comfort food. I like my dumplings thin and in the body of the broth. My mother makes them similar to crust but cuts them thick (about a 1/4 inch).
I find free range chickens much more flavorful. I like to boil my chicken with garlic, onion and bay leaf (I save the salt for later). The only veggies I like in my dumplings are a bit of celery and carrots with the requisite (for my moms' recipe) green peas.
I rarely stew or braise chicken (assuming it's skin-on) without browning it first, and I almost always flour the chicken because I like the way it thickens the sauce, recipe dependent of course. I also like using a butter-olive oil mix because it seems to improve the sauce as well. So Chef Cricket, I'm curious how you do your dumplings... I've had hit or miss experiences with the dumplings and it sounds like you've got that down. Can I beg for your recipe?
I've tried a few dumpling recipes and they really don't vary that much. The difference achieved in texture and lightness has all to do with handling when mixing and NOT peeking when they covered to finish cooking.
I generally double the following:
1 cup flour
1 1/2 baking powder
1 tsp salt-ground kosher
2 T shortening
herbs finely chopped - Italian parsley/chives -finely chopped
1/2 cup of milk - but depending on the texture I do add a little bit of broth as I do when making masa for tamales.
I use a soup spoon, I take a nice scoop and drop them on top of the bubbling stew.
I place them close together, and I then season the top with herbs de provence. pepper and a little more ground kosher salt.
Let the m simmer uncovered for 10 minutes - no longer, then cover them for another 10 minutes and don't peek!
When I make dumplings, they are the last to go in, the stew is already thickend and I don't mess with it.
The pan I use is a sauteuse, probably 7 qt (its wide and not deep), it is the same pot I fry the chicken and then saute the veggies in. Seasoning and veggies are thyme, herbes de provence, onion (huge white onion diced) celery and carrot, fresh parsley and then once sauteed briefly,all goes back into the pot and then I pour in chicken broth to the point where it is barely covering the chicken. I think this is the best way to describe since we all use different pots or pans.
I make a slurry with milk and chicken broth and flour - thicken the sauce and then put the chicken back in to cook for about 10 more minutes. The fried chicken gives a wonderful color and flavor to the gravy. And then I do the dumplings.
Chicken and dumplings is a dish that I've made often for my family, but only browning the chicken, this was the first time that I floured it and fried it (accidentally). The end result was scrumptious.
For the dumplings to come out so airy you can't over handle your dough, and you can't take the lid off and on. Leave it alone.
And honestly I've used bisquick before adding herbs to it as well and they come out pretty good too.
re: chef chicklet
have you ever read the cook's illustrated article about chicken and dumplings? the chicken part wasn't that useful, but they discovered that using melted butter/shortening and mixing it with the milk and then adding to the dry ingredients made for a fluffier, more tender dumpling. I was skeptical, but I tried it and it was true!
re: chef chicklet
Oh your're welcome. I apologize if I get a wordy, I've given my recipes to people before and as I've read from several chowhounds the recipes flop for them unless you give pan size and the actual steps. I've found that everyone is pretty good with sharing their recipes for success around here! I've made some very good meals and desserts lately thanks to you!
I roast the chicken first (with herbs, lemon & butter), pull the meat off the bone, make a stock from the bones & vegetables, make a sauce with a stock and biscuity dumplings on top (dumplings have egg). This is my favorite recipe, though a little more work.
Growing up, we rarely ate chicken and dumplings. We had Chicken Pie. My mom cooked a chicken in water, took meat off the bone, made a sauce & added the pulled chicken, put it in a 9 x 13 pan and topped it with awesome homemade biscuits. (No veggies in this.)
One of my grandmothers who kept chickens would kill an old hen for stewing. To make hers. She kept the chicken bone on and would really cook it well in big pieces until she had a really rich broth going and then would add veg and heavy cream and top with fluffy dumplings to finish it off.
I tend to do the brown and braise method and add stock to help in the flavor. Can't get those tought old hens anymore. They were much more falvorful than what we can get today unless we know someone raising chickens.