Chicken & Dumplings. Is there really anything else on this planet that is more comforting than this delicious bowl of soft dumplings, chicken, and creamy broth. As a child, I remember watching my grandma make chicken & dumplings; my job was to help transport the dumplings. I would literally have dumplings all the way up my arm taking them from the counter to the stove, leaving a trail of flour in my wake. It is memories like this that I cherish and hope to preserve when I make dishes like this. What's even better, having my son and daughter in the kitchen with me, their arms full of dumplings, with a trail of flour from the counter to the stove. My recipe is slightly different from my grandma's in that I use only white meat chicken, whereas she used a whole chicken, slow boiled, creating a flavorful broth she used to cook her dumplings in. Although our ingredients differ slightly, the concept is identical, thus creating a flavorful, easy, and incredibly comforting dish that transports me back many, many moons every time I eat it. Here's how I did it:
Chicken & Dumplings:
2 organic skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
2 cups water
2 cups organic low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup organic all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp organic unsalted butter, diced
1/3 - 1/2 cup organic milk (I used 2%)
flour for dusting
2 tsp salt, separated, plus more to taste
1 tsp pepper, plus more to taste
Directions: In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, add the chicken breast and the water. Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low, and simmer until fully cooked, about 30 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside. Add the broth to the saucepan, keeping the temperature on low.
In a mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, and 1 tsp salt. Stir until combined. Add the diced butter and using a pastry cutter or your hand, mix the butter in until the mixture looks crumbly and the butter is the size of peas (Can use a food processor for this part). Start with 1/3 cup milk and stir into the flour. The dough should come together but will be sticky. If it does not come together, add a little more milk, a tbsp at a time, until the dough comes together. Generously flour your counter or workspace. Turn out the dough, flour a rolling pin, and roll out the dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Do not over handle or over work the dough. You don't want to warm the butter. Once the dough is rolled out, use a knife or a pizza cutter (this makes it so, so easy) to cut 1 - 1 1/2 inch strips. Cut each strip into 2 inch sections.
Bring the broth mixture to a boil and add the dumplings. Cover with a lid, ,lower the temperature to medium heat, and cook for 18-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Broth will thicken and become creamy as the dumplings cook. While the dumplings are cooking, shred or cut the chicken breasts into big chunks. When the time is up, add the remaining salt, the pepper, and the chicken and stir well to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired. This recipe feeds 4 people.
Tip: Please, please do not stress yourself over getting the shape of these dumplings exact. I do not bring out a ruler, and you will have some irregularly shaped dumplings, and that is so perfectly OK. Welcome to the world of homemade from scratch cooking :-) !!!!