Chicken and dumplings is a beloved Southern comfort food that warms the soul on cold winter days. With its simple ingredients and rustic charm, this dish has a way of bringing comfort and nostalgia to the table. Let’s take a closer look at this old-fashioned recipe that has been delighting generations.
Originating in the Southern United States, chicken and dumplings is a dish that harks back to the homestyle cooking of yesteryears. Its humble yet satisfying nature has made it a staple in many households, often invoking cherished memories of family gatherings and special occasions.
The heart of this dish lies in the tender chicken and soft, pillowy dumplings that are gently simmered in a flavorful broth. Traditionally, the chicken is cooked until it’s tender and easily shredded, creating a rich and savory base for the dish. The dumplings, made from a simple mixture of all-purpose flour, baking powder, butter, and milk, are rolled out and cut into flat strips. These flat dumplings absorb the delicious flavors of the broth, creating a harmonious marriage of taste and texture.
One of the most frequently asked questions about chicken and dumplings is whether you can use different cuts of chicken. Absolutely! While the recipe typically calls for chicken breasts, you can opt for chicken thighs or even a store-bought rotisserie chicken to save time. The choice of chicken is flexible and can be tailored to your family’s preferences.
To enhance the meal, many people wonder what sides go well with chicken and dumplings. Some like to pair it with French bread or biscuits, while others opt for a side salad or green beans for a touch of freshness. The beauty of this dish lies in its versatility; it can be customized to suit your taste and the occasion.
For those unfamiliar with the concept of “flat” dumplings, it’s worth noting that they are a distinct style of dumplings used in this recipe. Unlike the more common drop dumplings, which are spooned directly into the broth, flat dumplings are rolled and cut before being added to the pot. These flat strips of dough provide a comforting, hearty texture that absorbs the flavors of the broth.
While the classic chicken and dumplings recipe does not traditionally include vegetables, there’s no rule against adding some. If you’re a fan of extra veggies, consider throwing in peas and carrots to enhance the nutritional profile and add a pop of color to the dish.
When it comes to leftovers, chicken and dumplings are best enjoyed on the day they’re made. While you can store them in the fridge, be mindful that the dumplings may continue to absorb the broth over time, potentially altering their texture.
If you’re ready to give this comforting dish a try, here’s a simple recipe to get you started:
- Chicken broth
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Salted butter
- Chicken breasts
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Drizzle olive oil on chicken breasts, season with salt and pepper, and bake for about 45 minutes or until fully cooked.
- Shred the cooked chicken and set aside.
- In a large pot, warm chicken broth on the stovetop.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Add cubed butter and mix until it resembles tiny pebbles.
- Pour in milk and mix to form dumpling dough.
- Roll out the dumpling dough on a floured surface to about 1/4″ thickness. Cut into squares.
- Bring the chicken broth to a boil, add shredded chicken, and stir.
- Add dumplings one at a time to the pot and stir frequently.
- Let the dumplings cook for about 15-20 minutes until the broth thickens and the dumplings absorb some of it.
- Taste-test a dumpling to ensure it’s cooked through and not doughy.
- Ladle the chicken and dumplings into bowls and serve.
Steps to Make Chicken and Dumplings:
Step 1: Cook the Chicken
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Drizzle olive oil over 2-3 chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper.
- Bake the chicken breasts for about 45 minutes until fully cooked (internal temperature of 165°F or 74°C).
- Shred the cooked chicken using two forks and set aside.
Step 2: Prepare the Dumplings
- In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder.
- Add 2 tablespoons of cold, cubed salted butter to the flour mixture.
- Mix the butter into the flour using your fingers, fork, or a pastry cutter until it resembles small pebbles.
- Pour in 1 cup of milk and mix until a dough forms.
Step 3: Roll and Cut the Dumplings
- Dust a clean surface with all-purpose flour.
- Place the dumpling dough on the floured surface and dust the top with more flour.
- Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to about 1/4″ thickness.
- Cut the dough into squares using a knife or a pizza cutter.
Step 4: Prepare the Broth
- In a large pot, warm 2 quarts of chicken broth over medium heat on the stovetop.
Step 5: Add Chicken and Dumplings
- Once the broth is heated, add the shredded chicken to the pot and stir.
- Carefully add the dumplings one at a time to the simmering broth, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
Step 6: Cook the Dumplings
- Allow the dumplings to cook in the broth for about 15-20 minutes.
- The broth will thicken as the dumplings absorb some of it.
Step 7: Taste-Test and Serve
- Taste-test one of the dumplings to ensure it’s cooked through and no longer doughy.
- Once the dumplings are cooked, ladle the chicken and dumplings into bowls and serve.
Process and Serving:
- Chicken and dumplings is a timeless comfort food that evokes feelings of warmth and nostalgia.
- The dish involves cooking chicken until tender, shredding it, and adding it to a flavorful broth.
- The dumplings, made from a simple mixture of flour, baking powder, butter, and milk, are rolled and cut into flat strips.
- The flat dumplings are added to the simmering broth along with the shredded chicken.
- The dish is cooked until the dumplings are tender and the broth has thickened slightly.
- Chicken and dumplings can be served as a standalone meal or paired with sides like French bread, biscuits, side salads, or green beans.
- The nutritional content of chicken and dumplings can vary based on portion sizes and specific ingredients used.
- The dish generally provides a good source of protein from the chicken and some carbohydrates from the dumplings.
- The milk and butter in the dumplings contribute to the overall fat content.
- If desired, you can adjust the ingredients or portion sizes to align with your dietary preferences and nutritional goals.
As you enjoy this heartwarming dish, remember that chicken and dumplings is more than just a meal – it’s a nostalgic journey back to the comfort of home-cooked goodness.
Q1: What is chicken and dumplings?
A1: Chicken and dumplings is a comforting Southern dish made with tender chicken and soft dumplings simmered in a flavorful broth. It’s a classic comfort food that evokes warmth and nostalgia.
Q2: Where did chicken and dumplings originate?
A2: Chicken and dumplings originated in the Southern United States. It reflects the homestyle cooking that has been passed down through generations.
Q3: What makes up the heart of the dish?
A3: The heart of chicken and dumplings consists of tender shredded chicken and soft, pillowy dumplings that absorb the flavors of the broth.
Q4: What are the key ingredients for the dumplings?
A4: The dumplings are made from a mixture of all-purpose flour, baking powder, butter, and milk. These ingredients create a simple yet delicious dough.
Q5: Can you use different cuts of chicken in the recipe?
A5: Absolutely! While the recipe traditionally calls for chicken breasts, you can use chicken thighs or even store-bought rotisserie chicken for convenience.
Q6: What are some suggested sides to serve with chicken and dumplings?
A6: Chicken and dumplings can be paired with a variety of sides, such as French bread, biscuits, side salads, or green beans. The versatility of the dish allows you to customize the meal to your preferences.
Q7: What are “flat” dumplings?
A7: “Flat” dumplings are a specific style of dumplings used in this recipe. They are rolled and cut into flat strips before being added to the broth. These dumplings have a hearty texture that absorbs the flavors of the broth.
Q8: Can you add vegetables to the dish?
A8: While the classic recipe doesn’t traditionally include vegetables, you can certainly add peas and carrots if you prefer. This can enhance the nutritional content and add color to the dish.
Q9: How should leftovers be stored?
A9: Leftover chicken and dumplings are best enjoyed on the day they’re made. If you need to store them, keep them in a covered container in the fridge. Be aware that the dumplings may continue to absorb the broth over time.