I have a culinary confession to make:
Until yesterday, I had never made chicken and dumplings.
As a kid, I disliked chicken and dumplings because they were just so…disgusting. Ruddy, vaseline-colored clumps of dough floating around in a puddle of oily broth–the stuff was hard enough to look at let alone eat! Therefore, from the age of 9 on up, I just assumed that I would never, ever need to cook chicken and dumplings.
And then I married a man of southern roots.
Who just so happens to l-o-v-e chicken and dumplings.
So after six and half years of marriage, I finally resolved to prepare this dish. Thankfully, yesterday was perfect chicken and dumpling cooking weather.
If it had been a sunny day, I would have chosen to work in my garden instead. But that’s another post for another time.
Not wanting to use just any chicken and dumpling recipe, I searched for every recipe with a 5-star rating and an appealing photo of the finished product. In the end, I decided on Tyler Florence’s recipe.
The verdict: Delicious!
The dumplings were light and fluffy, not tough and heavy. The creamy broth had wonderful depth of flavor.
Tyler Florence’s Chicken and Dumplings
(This dish has several steps, but be ye not be discouraged! Tis the nature of chicken and dumplings.)
*1 (3-pound) whole chicken
*Salt and freshly ground black pepper
*4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
*1 lemon, halved and juiced; halves reserved
*1/4-cup fresh chopped herbs (I used parsley because that’s all I had)
*1 onion, halved
*4 garlic cloves, smashed
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove the neck and gibletsfrom the cavity of the chicken and discard. Rinse the chicken under cold water, inside and out. Pat dry thoroughly with paper towels. Season the body and cavity of the chicken generously with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, mash together the butter, lemon juice, and chopped herbs. Rub the herbed butter all over the chicken, as well as under the skin. Put the lemon halves, onion, garlic, and whole herbs inside the chicken cavity, for added flavor. Place the chicken, breast side up, in a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Roast for 1 hour until the meat is no longer pink.
When cool enough to handle, shred the meat, discarding the skin and set aside.
Reserve the bones for chicken stock.
Cook’s Tip: For even more depth of flavor, first pour off the excess fat left in the bottom of the roasting pan before adding 1 cup of warm water. Allow water to sit for a few minutes before whisking up all the yummy bits baked onto the pan. Save this water to add to the stock later on.
*2 tablespoons olive oil
*2 carrots, cut in large chunks
*2 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
*1 onion, halved
*1 garlic bulb, halved
*Reserved chicken bones
*2 quarts cold water
*4 sprigs fresh parsley
*4 sprigs fresh thyme
*2 bay leaves
In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, add the oil. Once the oil is warm, add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic.
Cook the veggies for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally .
Add reserved chicken bones.
Carefully pour in the cup of flavorful liquid previously extracted from the roasting pan.
Pour in 6 cups of cold water.
Add bay leaves.
Bring to a simmer and simmer uncovered for one hour. Strain the stock and set aside.
*2 cups flour
*1 tablespoon baking powder
*1 teaspoon salt
*3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk
In a separate bowl, add the flour and salt.
Add the baking powder and sift ingredients well.
In another bowl, whisk eggs and 3/4 cup of buttermilk to start.
Make a “well” in the flour mixture and pour the egg mixture into the well.
Mix dough until just combined. If dough seems too tough, add a little more milk.
Be careful not to overmix or your dumplings will come out tough and heavy!
Aim for a thick-oatmeal consistency. Set dough aside.
*2 tablespoons butter
*1 tablespoon oil
*1 tablespoon flour
*1/2 cup diced carrot
*1/2 cup diced celery
*3 cloves garlic, minced
*2 bay leaves
*1/4 cup flour
*6 cups chicken stock
*1/4 cup heavy cream
*Freshly ground black pepper, for garnish
*Chopped parsley, for garnish
In a large stock pot, melt butter over medium-high heat.
Add carrots, celery and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes until veggies are soft.
Stir in the flour to make a roux.
Continue to stir and cook for 2 minutes to coat the flour and remove the starchy taste.
Slowly pour in the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. (Start stirring right away if you don’t want lumps! The roux starts thickening up immediately.)
Continue this process…
…until all the stock has been added.
Let sauce simmer for about 15 minutes until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Add the cream.
Add the shredded chicken.
Bring pot back to a simmer before adding small spoonfuls of dough to the pot.
Technically, the dumplings should cover the top of the broth but not be crowded.
(I let things crowd a little. No harm, no fowl. I mean, foul.)
Poach dumpling for 10-15 minutes until firm and puffy.
Serve hot with a sprinkling of fresh parsley and cracked black pepper.
Now that chicken and dumplings are back on the menu, it’s time to tackle another dish that *gulp* I’ve yet to prepare for my southerner: Fried Chicken!!
To be continued…