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Dumplings for Chicken & Dumplings

It's a tradition in my family that we always have chicken & dumplings on Halloween. My mom always made the mix-flour-water-salt-and-parsley type of dumplings that you roll out and cut into squares. Even though it's a pretty good recipe, I'm wondering if C&D has to always be such a bland dish? Any ideas on different types of dumplings or seasonings other than salt and pepper in the soup? thanks!

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  1. you can add some minced celery and carrots (maybe you already do, though). i sort of like the blandness of c&d-- but with pepper, for sure. lately, i splash in some fish sauce, too.
    this c&d thread may interest you: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/566292

    1 Reply
    1. re: alkapal

      I always start by sauteing the traditional mix of carrots, onion, celery, garlic, before browning the chicken and add a dash or two of tabasco and Worcester sauce and some dried thyme or tarragon to the broth. For the dumplings, if you have access to the old Joy of Cooking, I've always loved the dumpling recipe they said they got at a B&B somewhere in the South. When they complimented the owner on how light and fabulous they were, she sighed and said, "Oh yes, they're always like that when the cook is drunk."

    2. Nothing better than C&D's, except I make thick fresh egg noodles. Chewy, yet light and delish. Very saucy and I serve over mashed potato (never enough starch I suppose) and add lots of fresh black pepper. The key is the home made broth. The richer, the better flavor.

      1. The Cook's Illustrated C&D recipe is my standby. There's only two of us, so I usually just halve the dumpling recipe and make a fresh batch to throw in when I reheat the stew.

        Here's a link to a site with the recipe:
        http://www.foodreference.com/html/chi...

        I do a couple things differently from the original recipe - I use a whole chicken instead of just chicken thighs, I use cream instead of milk in the stew for added richness, and I prefer to pat out the dumpling dough on a floured board and cut it into strips or squares instead of dropping it in by spoonfuls.

        1. You can add a bay leaf or two, parsley, and some sage to the soupy part of the recipe, or in a pinch, use a dash or two of poultry seasoning. White pepper is also nice in soups, but careful, it can be more pungent than you expect! What about a little bit of sliced leek in the soup as well?

          1. My long-time recipe for C&D's involves dried basil and bay leaf, which go into the stew and then dried basil is also added to the dumpling mixture, which for me is Bisquick. The rest of the stew is made from scratch, though.

            1. I made this recipe about a month ago and it was delicious - bear in mind, we love hot and spicy. This is pretty much the way my MIL made hers - but she browned the chicken first and made a roux - that's still the one I make most of the time. But this one was very good. I added some bacon grease to the dumplings like MIL did....yummy.

              http://www.emerils.com/recipe/3291/sp...

              1. With a simple chicken soup like base, salt level will critical. If there isn't enough salt it will be bland even if you don't like spicy food. Obviously you could add all kinds of vegetables and spices, but at the risk of changing its character. You don't want, for example, to turn this into something that came from Southern India instead of the Southern USA. :) Salt, pepper and a few dashes of hot sauce may be all that you need.

                As alluded to in other posts, there are two very different styles of dumpling, the dense noodle like squares that you had, and the light floating biscuit affairs.

                Another thought - years ago, the chickens used for a dish like this would have been older stewing hens (retired layers). There's more flavor in such a bird than the young birds that we usually buy. Commercial chicken stock or chicken-soup base helps compensate for that difference. There have been lots of threads about making your own stock.

                1. Thank you everyone! These are fabulous ideas, and I will take from several of them. Yay, yay, thank you!

                  1. We've grown lazy and use tortillas or biscuits for the dumplings. But I too have found this heritage dish to fall short. I always eat mine with a healthy dose of tabasco or pickpeppa