Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chicken and Dumplings - Down Home Style

Chicken and Dumplings

You only need five ingredients and a few basic seasonings for this down home chicken and dumplings.  This is a recipe that I learned from my mom.  It's not been written down really until now.... I just eyeball it and I know how I like it.....thick with a gravy-like sauce surrounding the chicken and dumplings!  Soooo good!

I like my chicken and dumplings to be surrounded by a gravy-like sauce, not a watery soup with some chicken and dumplings floating around.  It’s the kind of chicken and dumplings that I grew up with in the South and so I strive to achieve that yummy thick gravy with the finished product.  It goes great served with some hot cornbread on the side! 

No one told me the first time I made this to discard the onions and celery after boiling with the chicken.... But it is essential.  We just want the flavors to be absorbed into the broth.  The result of my first attempt at this dish was a bowl full of chicken, dumplings and way soggy onions and celery.  I quickly decided what I needed to change and the result was delicious!

I have added my own touches to this recipe, such as the poultry seasoning shown in the picture and I use chicken bouillon and water instead of chicken broth in a can to save money.  So if you're value conscious, stop buying those individual cans of chicken broth! It's a waste of money and cans.  I convert my recipes that call for chicken broth to water plus bouillon granules.....one teaspoon of bouillon to every 1 cup of water.  Best money saving tip I ever learned and it works out great in recipes! 

This dish is best enjoyed in the warmth and coziness of your living room while looking out at the beautiful snow coming down outside.  Well, a sunny day works too...it's so good, you will crave it all year round...... I know I do!

Boiling the chicken

3-4 lb whole chicken
Water to cover chicken
4 ribs celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
Salt and pepper
Boil for 45 minutes to 1 hour, breast side down


2 2/3 cups Bisquick mix

¾ cup milk   
Seasoning and extra broth

1 tbsp poultry seasoning (I use McCormick Perfect Pinch Garlic and Herb seasoning –Salt Free)
Note: Poultry seasoning contains garlic powder, oregano, rosemary, basil and red pepper, parsley, paprika and onion powder if you want to make your own or buy something comparable.

Chicken broth or chicken bouillon (optional) – I add some extra canned broth or bouillon and water if I find that I don’t have the right amount of liquid leftover from boiling the chicken. 

Place chicken in a 6 quart saucepan and add water until the chicken is just covered.  Add chopped celery and onions, about 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.  Bring to a boil and boil gently for 45-60 minutes, until no longer pink inside.

Remove the chicken from the broth, cut off the legs and thighs and allow to cool on a plate before deboning the chicken.  Discard the onions and celery, reserving the broth and placing the broth into a smaller 4 quart saucepan for the remainder of the process.  After the chicken is done, you should end up with about 2-3 quarts of chicken broth.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, separate the meat from the bones and set aside.  Discard the chicken skin, fat and gristle.

Mix the Bisquick mix and milk together just until moistened and combined.  Set the dumpling mixture aside. 

Add the chicken and poultry seasoning to the broth and bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat. 
Add the dumpling mixture to the broth, one heaping teaspoon full at a time.  Lower the heat to a simmer and simmer at medium heat, uncovered for 10 minutes, gently pushing dumplings under broth from time to time but no stirring!

Stirring the dumplings too early will result in the dumplings breaking apart.  If needed, I stir very gently scraping the bottom of the pan in order to prevent sticking (being careful to stir without disturbing the dumplings much).  

Fluffy dumplings after first adding them

Cover, lower heat and simmer an additional 10-15 minutes until dumplings are cooked through.  I sometimes simmer mine a bit longer uncovered if the resulting gravy is not thick enough for my liking.

The dumplings are done when they look more dense instead of fluffy and when they start to sink a bit instead of all floating on top.

Salt and pepper to taste. 

Denser dumplings after cooking
I like to add extra cracked pepper to mine just after dishing up my serving.  Enjoy!