Sunday, November 6, 2011

Southern Chicken & Dumplings

Chicken & Dumplings is THE ultimate Southern comfort food. Chewy flour dumplings simmered in a rich chicken stock and then served with shredded chicken meat, it's almost like a Deep South version of matzoh ball soup. Originating during the Great Depression, chicken & dumplings was a way to feed many hungry mouths with only a little bit of chicken.

Though nowadays, most people use frozen dumplings or canned biscuits, I find that making the dumplings from scratch is a LOT easier than expected. I like to make this dish when I need to use up vegetables like celery and carrot, and also whenever I have leftover thyme or parsley. To save money, I always buy a whole chicken and simply cut it up myself (which I will explain in a future post when I can get someone to shoot the pictures for me so I don't have to handle my camera with gross chicken hands). 

Southern Chicken & Dumplings

1 large fryer chicken, cut into 8 pieces
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 bunch fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled & sliced into rounds
2 ribs celery, sliced into rounds
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
Salt & pepper
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp salted butter
1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley leaves
1 tsp finely chopped thyme leaves

Combine the broth, thyme sprigs and bay leaf in a large Dutch oven. Add the chicken. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Once cooked, remove the chicken and place in a large bowl. Let the chicken cool, and shred the meat, discarding any skin and bones.

Strain the cooking broth and reserve.

In the same Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the chicken and reserved broth and bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper together. Combine the cream, butter, parsley and thyme in a small saucepan and bring to a low simmer. Add the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until combined. Form into dumplings (I use a small cookie scoop).

Carefully lower the dumplings, one at a time, into the simmering broth with a slotted spoon. Cover the Dutch oven and simmer for 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.


  1. Wow! Looks delicious. When I make C&D, I just buy a chicken already cut up. I can't stand "chicken hands."

  2. I keep a box of vinyl surgical gloves in the kitchen; mainly for cutting up hot peppers, but they're also great for handling raw meat!