Mmm, Chicken and Dumplings
Easy, peasy, all in one pot.
On a chilly spring evening, what could be better than hot soup? Well, Chicken and Dumplings. If you have never tried making it yourself before, now is the time. It was such an easy recipe, even the pioneers made it on long trips across rugged terrain. Basically everything cooks in one pot. That's the beauty of it. Also if you are a vegetarian, leave the chicken out. It cooks up just as nice without it.
You can add more seasonings as desired. My husband likes to add chicken bouillon if we are low on chicken, but I don't think it is necessary. Some parsley or basil is nice. Some like to add cumin and garlic. It is all in what you like.
I like the convenience and health of frozen skinless chicken breasts. That way you can just pull what you want out of the freezer and they are already boneless. Pop them into the water, cook till tender, remove and shred or cube and return to the water. Truly easy.
Prep Time: 10 minutes to cut up veggies.
Total Time: about 40 minutes
- 3 to 4 frozen chicken breasts. No need to defrost.
- 3 carrots, diced or sliced
- 3 stalks celery, more if desired, diced or cubed
- 1 medium sized white onion, diced
- 2 quarts water
- salt and pepper to taste
- Throw all these into a large cook pot and boil for 15 to 20 minutes.
- While these are cooking, mix up the dumplings.
- After about 10 minutes, pull out the chicken breasts and cut into bite-sizes, then return to the pot.
Soup photosClick thumbnail to view full-size
These are made very similarly to biscuits, only kneaded a little more than you would biscuits. I like to use soymilk, but regular milk or non-fat dry will work fine.
Some recipes call for the chicken stock to be used instead of milk. Water will work as well, but I like the flavor of the dumplings with milk.
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup soymilk
- Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl and cut in the shortening, mixing until it forms small pea-sized shapes.
- Pour in a little milk at a time, mixing after each addition. Stop when dough forms one mass.
- Turn out onto a floured board. Kneed the dough until all the ingredients are smooth and the dough is rather firm.
- If it is too soft and sticky, add more flour. Roll out the dough into a thickness of about an inch.
- Use a pastry knife to cut long strips. Cut round dumplings, square dumplings or triangular shapes. Shape doesn't matter. These will cook best if they are no larger than 1 inch by 2 or 3 inches.
Mixing dumplingsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Drop dumplings into boiling soup pot.
Make sure the soup is boiling. Not a hard splashing boil, but a soft rolling boil. Drop the dumplings gently into the boiling soup pot one at a time. They should sink and then rise to the surface. They may need to be turned over once to be sure they cooked all the way through. In less than 10 minutes they will be ready to serve. The flour from the dough makes the soup thicken and look like a thin gravy. No real need to add thickening.
I like my dumplings to be rather thick like biscuits, but many people like to roll them thin, rather like egg noodles. It's all a matter of preference. Whatever you like that works.
Leftovers the following day are coveted because the soup has continued to thicken and the gravy gets even better flavor the second day.
You will feel like a pioneer making this traditional meal. Add a salad if desired, but I find there is no need for anything else. Very filling and healthy.
All photos taken by Denise McGill.
Alternate Chicken and Dumpling recipes
The first video recipe adds potatoes, which seems a nice addition. They both roll their dumplings thinner than I like to have mine but it's all good.