Chicken & Dumplings: The Return of Comfort Food

There’s nothing left to say but this…it was going to snow…in March…just days before spring. So I had to make chicken and dumplings. Plus my biggest guy was already sick, meaning I’d already put together chicken soup (possibly my best ever! I used a pre-brined organic chicken. OMG delicious. Thanks Trader Joe’s – you’ve redeemed yourself from the twice bad cream incident.) It's a twist of sorts on the last time I visited this great comfort food with you. Both delicious. Both easy. Here is this week's approach.

I had cooked chicken and stock, and every intention of jamming the dish full of vegetables and not so much fat. Veggies are easy, carrots, onions and celery all count towards the daily servings. Don’t be afraid to use the less than perfect specimens from the bin. Like my mom, I throw them in wherever I can. To make a “creamy” sauce sans cream – use vegetable oil, a little flour and flavorful stock. The oil and flour make a roux, the stock sets it into sauce. Works every time.

The dumplings are lighter with all purpose white flour, but I subbed cornmeal for some of it. Honestly, even I don’t think it would count as whole grain serving…unless I sold them in the freezer section, with a picture of a field slapped on the box after paying a company to measure the fiber.

With chicken that’s already cooked, this dish didn’t take more than 20 minutes to assemble. The next 15 allows the dumplings to rise.

Stew Ingredients:

1 large onion, chopped

3 smallish stalks of celery, chopped

½ bag whittled carrots or 3 carrots sliced

2 big pinches dried thyme

¼ cup vegetable oil plus more for melting veggies in pan

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1 quart chicken stock

1 mug frozen peas defrosted

3-ish cups of chopped up chicken already cooked

Salt & pepper if desired

Dumpling ingredients:

1 ½ cups flour

½ cup cornmeal

¾ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 pinches thyme

¾ cup milk

2 tablespoons melted butter or oil

Add a tablespoon of oil to heavy bottom pan that has a lid. Melt onion, carrots & celery with a pinch or two of salt over medium heat. Add the thyme. Add ¼ veg oil and whisk/stir in 1/3 cup flour. It will look gloopy, especially with the vegetables already in there. Cook a minute or two, then slowly add stock. I used mine straight from the fridge – I don’t recommend that, I just forgot to take it out. Anyways it still worked.

When it starts to bubble and thicken, turn down the heat. Let it cook for 5 or so minutes. Then add chicken and peas. Taste and adjust seasonings.

While the stew is cooking, combine the dry ingredients for the dumplings. Add the milk and butter making sure the butter isn’t super hot and the milk isn’t icy cold. Stir until combined – mine needed a touch more moisture, I chose to delete some flour. Still, the dough should be sticky. Drop by tablespoon on top of hot stew. Put the lid on it and wait. In 15 minutes – comfort. As the cook, eat a dumpling before the rest of the family to check for “doneness”.

Enjoy the dumplings – B


BTW – this dish can be kosher!

BTW2-if you don’t feel like making dumplings, serve over noodles, with rice or spaetzle or simply cut up 3 large russet potatoes into half inch chunks and add to the pot.


Published by Betsy Karetnick

Dynamic lifestyle broadcaster, journalist, and media expert. Brand builder. Innovator. Producer. Experienced in business development and all aspects of media. Extensive experience on a national platform attracting and retaining an audience by mixing entertainment and education on lifestyle issues including cooking, cleaning, crafting, organizing, personal finance and dining out. Owner and operator of The Portable Garden, northern New Jersey's premier source for exclusive custom event design, special event flowers, container gardens and small scale landscape installations.

2 thoughts on “Chicken & Dumplings: The Return of Comfort Food

  1. Betsy – did you find the brined chicken made the soup salty? I assume you did not add any additional salt to the pot – and removed the chicken from the bones at some point in the cooking process? Love your blog and miss you terribly on the radio!

    1. Thanks for writing. No I didn’t add salt to the pot – it was definitely more “soup” than “stock”. That said, I would have no problem using it in a recipe and tasting before adding any more chickens have always made great soup – that’s code for brined 🙂

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