If I had an ultimate comfort food, chicken and dumplings would be high up on the list. It’s warm, hearty, delicious and easy to make for a few people or a whole crowd. If you’re from the south, you probably grew up eating this all too often, yet for me, it doesn’t get old.
With Thanksgiving behind us (and Christmas coming far too quickly), there’s a good chance you have some leftover carrots and turkey hanging around. While this recipe calls for chicken to cook and uses the flavorful broth as a base, I like to add any leftover turkey I have to the chicken and broth for added flavor. Plus, it’s a great way to use up some turkey. If you’re going to add the turkey, I would shred and add the turkey into the broth once the chicken is cooked. You can use less chicken to start if you’re going to add turkey.
I love the chewy dumplings, the saffron and herb-infused broth, the tender meat, and the addition of carrots. This is a family recipe that has evolved over the years and is one I hope to pass down to my children. It’s a cold weather recipe too good not to share with y’all. This is seriously the best meal to make for an outdoor dinner with friends and family around the fire. Grab some blankets, jackets, and a bowl of chicken and dumplings and enjoy the beautiful chilly evenings.
Chicken and Dumplings
- 3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast* raw
- 1 onion chopped
- 4-5 carrots peeled and chopped
- 3 parsley sprigs
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 T salt plus more for tasting
- ½ tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp saffron
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp red pepper
- 3 cups self-rising flour
- ¾ tsp poultry seasoning
- ⅓ cup shortening
- 2 tsp bacon drippings optional
- 1 cup milk plus more if needed
- chicken stock optional and if needed
- cornstarch optional and if needed
- Place chicken in a large pot with enough water to cover it, about 9-10 cups. Add remaining indredients for the soup. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer partially covered for 1 hour, until chicken is cooked through. Turn off the heat and remove the chicken. Once cool, shred the chicken. Add the chicken back to the pot.**
- To make dumplings, combine flour and seasoning in a bowl. Cut/add in shortening and bacon drippings, if adding, with a pastry cutter or the back of a fork until there are no large chunks. Add milk and stir with a spatula. Feel free to add more milk if not all the flour is incoporated. Put dough on a lightly floured surface. With a rolling pin, roll dough to ⅛-inch thickness and cut into about 1-inch long slices. The shape and size doesn't have to be perfect and universal.
- Turn the soup to a slight boil and add in dumplings a few at a time. They will grow in the water, so if a dumpling is too big, just cut it in half. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 25 minutes.
- If the soup is too thick, add more water or chicken stock. If it's too thin, combine 3 T of cornstarch with ¼ cup water or chicken stock, and once mixed, add to the pot. Season as needed with salt and pepper to taste.