My grandmother would peer into the steaming pot, but she never smiled. Classic Chicken and Dumplings were serious business, and her dumplings always (and I mean always) failed. Bubbly floating layers of disconnected mush would be scooped away from the top of the soup, and we would sit in mourning, slurping at warm bowls of the less shameful bits that she rescued from the chicken flavored tragedy. For all of the failed pots of Chicken and Dumplings I witnessed, I can say one thing: My grandmother was consistent.
Chicken and Dumplings Success Story
Fast forward to my adulthood, and I decided to give Classic Chicken and Dumplings a try. I had no family recipe to follow, so I asked a few friends. And yes, there are tricks that I learned about Chicken and Dumplings that have guaranteed dumpling success. I am happy to share those hints with you here.
Also, this recipe is chock full of herby flavor, but you can also switch up the flavors by adding peppers or potatoes – Once you master the art of making the dumplings you can concoct your own version.
Two Important Details for Perfect Dumplings
First, it is important that you add as little liquid to the dumpling dough as possible. Rolled dumplings, which are the traditional type of dumpling in Classic Chicken and Dumplings, are a type of pasta dough. However, many pasta doughs contain eggs for cohesion (aka: sticking together) but rolled dumpling dough simply rely on shortening and boiling water for cohesion.
Second, you need to roll the dumpling dough as thinly as possible. Rolling the dough can be a bit challenging as the dough can be very stiff. My dumplings are usually 1/8” (3mm) thick which takes some muscle, but the resulting dumplings are so worth it.
You can add either cool chicken broth or milk as the liquid for your dumplings. The milk version is a fluffier and leaves the chicken broth a little creamier, which the chicken broth version is a bit more firm, with a clearer broth. I couldn’t tell you my preference, because both are delicious!
I wish my grandmother was still here so I could share a bowl of success with her. She is gone, but I know how much a hot bowl of Chicken and Dumplings would have brought a smile to her face. Just knowing makes me happy every single time, and always.Print
Classic Chicken and Dumplings
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 45
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 6 servings
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces (about 4 lbs./2kg)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 rib celery, trimmed and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 tbsp. chopped parsley (4g fresh or 2 tsp./2g dried)
2 tbsp. fresh thyme (4g fresh or or 2 tsp./2g. dried)
1 onion, peeled and chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups flour (187g)
2 tsp. baking powder (8g)
1 tbsp. fresh dill (4g fresh or 1 tsp./1g dried
Pinch of salt
3 tbsp. shortening (40g)
1/3 cup milk or cooled chicken broth (80ml)
Chicken: In a 4 qt. (4lt) stock pot, add in all the ingredients for the chicken. Add enough tap water to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil, then simmer chicken until cooked, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat, then remove chicken from broth. Cool the chicken, then remove the meat from the bones. Return the chicken meat to the pot of broth. Discard the bones.
Dumplings: In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, dill, and salt. Knead in the shortening with your hands. When the flour and shortening are well combined, add the milk or broth. Continue to mix the dough with your hands until the dough is somewhat stiff.
Return the stockpot of chicken to a boil. On a floured surface, roll out the dumplings to 1/8” (3mm) thickness. Cut into 2”x 2” (5cm x 5cm) squares. Drop dumplings one by one into the boiling broth. Cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Do not remove the lid until the 15 minutes are up and the dumplings have cooked.