When I think of yummy, satisfying, stick-to-your-belly comfort food, Chicken and Dumplings is one of the first things to come to mind. It’s thick, creamy, and full of tender veggies, shredded chicken, and fluffy dumpling clouds. There are so many ways you can make the dish. And each variation is personal, nostalgic, and damn delicious if you ask me.
Chicken and Dumplings have been a staple comfort food in my family for as long as I can remember. It’s a sacred dish, even while being one that’s open to interpretation. My mom has a VERY specific way of making her soup (no carrots) and dumplings (like soft sheets.) My Grannie, on the other hand, likes to use more veggies, and prefers her dumplings plump and fluffy.
Just take one look on Pinterest, and you can find dozens of different recipes and methods for achieving the best chicken and dumplings.
I have scoured the web, I’ve talked with my mom and grandmother, I’ve tried and tested, and I’ve finally worked out my own take on chicken and dumplings. Turns out, I like my soup thicker…and creamy, with onions, celery, and carrots (sorry Mom.) I like fresh herbs in my recipe. And I like my dumplings fluffy like clouds, with a distinct taste and texture of their own.
My secret? Cornmeal and buttermilk. The former to add texture to the dough, and latter to bump up the flavor. The key is to make sure the batter isn’t too thick or too thin…and to steam the dumplings in the soup at the end until they cook all the way through and get nice and fluffy (like a bowl full of clouds, if I do say so myself).
Give this recipe a try and you won’t regret it. It’s perfect for a cold rainy day, slow and lazy Sundays, and all those winter nights to come in the next few months.
Comfort food made easy
Making chicken and dumplings is surprisingly easy, despite how deeply flavorful and hearty the dish turns out to be.
It starts out with a pretty basic soup base. Chop up an onion, a few carrot sticks, some celery stalks and some fresh garlic. Sauté all those veggies in some melted butter over medium heat until they get soft and fragrant (literally best smell ever). Sprinkle a little salt and pepper right off the bat to bring out as much flavor as possible.
Next, sprinkle in about a tablespoon of flour. This will help create the thick and creamy soup we know and love. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, for a few more minutes to let the flour cook down. Then, add in your chicken, along with about 2 cups of chicken stock and a cup of milk.
You want to use shredded or finely diced chicken for this recipe. Any leftovers you have will work well, as long as they aren’t too heavily seasoned. A juicy rotisserie chicken from the store is also PERFECT for this recipe, and it’s what I prefer for this recipe. You can also boil or roast some chicken quickly at home. It all works. Bring the soup to a simmer, and let it cook away for about 15 minutes while all the flavors blend together.
Then, lower the heat, and stir in some fresh chopped herbs. I love to use rosemary and thyme because they add such warm, savory notes. I also add dill, which brings some brightness. At this point, stir in about a half a cup of half and half as well, to add a final touch of creaminess. Then, taste the soup, and add more salt and pepper if you need to.
The last step is to make the dumplings and bring this dish together.
The dough starts with a mix of all-purpose flour and cornmeal. Add some baking soda and baking powder to help this dumplings fluff up. Season with a pinch of salt, pepper and garlic powder. To add a fresh, earthy element, also chop up a handful of fresh parsley and add it to the mixture.
Then, slowly start adding buttermilk to the dry ingredients, stirring until the dough comes together. You’ll probably use anywhere between 1/2 and 3/4 of a cup of buttermilk to get the right consistency. You want your dough to be wet and sticky, but thick enough to form clumps when you spoon it into the soup.
That’s exactly what you’ll do next. Drop small spoonfuls of the dumpling batter into the soup, about the size of a tablespoon (they’ll expand as they cook). Once you’ve spooned all the batter into the soup, put the lid on your pot. Let the soup continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes until your dumplings cook through.
You can serve this dish up immediately, and if there are any leftovers after going back for seconds, you can store those in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Let me know if you give these Chicken and Dumplings a try! I love to hear from you in the comments, or tag me on instagram @eat.think.live and let me see your creation! Plus, you can check out the rest of my recipes HERE.
Chicken & Dumplings
Creamy Chicken Soup
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 3 celery stalks diced
- 2 carrot sticks diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup flour
- 4 cups chicken both
- 1 cup milk
- 1 lb cooked chicken shredded or diced (about 2-3 cups)
- 1 tsp fresh dill chopped
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary chopped
- 1 tsp fresh thyme chopped
- 1/2 cup half and half
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- salt & pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup buttermilk*
- Melt butter over medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion, celery, carrots and garlic, plus a generous pinch of salt and pepper, and sauté until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle the flour all over the mixture, and stir until everything is coated and combined. Let the mixture cook, stirring frequently, for another 2-3 minutes until the flour starts to darken.
- Add the chicken broth and milk, as well as the shredded chicken, to the pot and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. If your soup seems a little too thick as it’s simmering, add some water 1/4 cup at a time.
- Let soup simmer for about 15 minutes, then lower the heat and stir in the fresh herbs and half and half. Taste, and adjust salt and pepper to your liking. Let that continue cooking on low for another 5 minutes while you make your dumplings.
- In a mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, then stir in the buttermilk slowly, stirring until you get a sticky dough mixture. You may not use all the liquid. You want the dough to be wet and sticky, but thick enough to form clumps.
- With the soup still simmering, drop small spoonfuls of the dumpling mixture into the soup. (You don’t want them larger than a tablespoon).
- Put the lid on the soup, and continue cooking on low heat for another 5-10 minutes until the dumplings are cooked through.