If you ask Brian what his favorite dinner is, you may get one of three answers. If we're talking about his favorite dinner his Nana makes, it would be her stuffed peppers. His favorite dinner his mom cooks would probably be her Italian beef. When it comes to his favorite meal I cook, it would hands down be chicken and dumplings. Seriously, the guy could eat it five nights a week, every week.
The good thing about our regular eating of this dish is that it's fairly healthy, and relatively easier to make. It is a bit more complicated than some of my other recipes, but it is definitely worth the time you'll put in - promise!
Here's what you'll need:
- 3 pounds chicken breast
- 1 onion, roughly cut
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence (or any combination of dried green herbs)
- 3 stalks celery, sliced
- 3 carrots, sliced
- 8 oz (or more!) mushrooms, sliced (we're mushroom lovers, so we sometimes double this :)
- double recipe dumplings (see below)
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 cups chicken stock (or broth)
- For Dumplings:
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons shortening
- 1 cup buttermilk
Here's what you need to do:
- Combine the chicken, onion, herbs in a large pot. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover with 3 cups of water. Bring to boiling, then reduce heat. Cover and let simmer for 25 minutes.
- Because we like our chicken shredded, I pull it out at this point and use forks to shred it. If you'd prefer to leave the breasts whole, just skip this step. Add in your veggies, return the mixture to boiling, reduce heat, and simmer for another 10 minutes. If you choose to shred the chicken, do so while the veggies are cooking.
- While the veggies are cooking, prepare your dumplings. We always make a double batch since we love them so much! In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups all purpose flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cut in 4 tablespoons of shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 1 cup buttermilk, stirring until just combined.
- For the next step, I use a steamer basket, but if you don't have one, you can easily just arrange your chicken breasts on top of the veggies in the pot to cook the dumplings. The point is to have the dumplings steam in the pot, but not directly touching the cooking liquid. If you haven't already added your chicken back into the pot, do so now. Then, place heaping spoonfuls of your dumpling batter either into the steamer basket, or on top of the chicken. (I'm realizing now that it would have been good to get a photo of this... I'll try to add one next time I make it!)
- Replace the lid and allow the dumplings to cook for about 12 minutes (don't open the lid while cooking!) After 12 minutes, use a toothpick to make sure the dumplings are done. Transfer the chicken, veggies, and dumplings to a serving bowl and keep warm. DO NOT discard your cooking liquid - leave it in the pot!
- You want about 2 cups of cooking liquid to make the gravy. I used to measure, but since what I always had left was usually 2 cups, I quit. So just go with whatever you have in the pot. Since we like a lot of gravy, I always double the recipe, so I add 2 cups of chicken stock/broth to the pot at this point. While the 4 cups of broth are heating, stir 1 cup of cold water into 1/2 cup of flour. Stir the liquid into the pot and cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture is thick and bubbly. This is where I add lots of fresh cracked black pepper and a pinch of extra salt! Cook and stir 2 minutes more, then pour over the chicken, veggies, and dumplings.
It may seem like a lot of work, but once you make this once or twice, it becomes second nature. Plus, it is just soooo good! I mean look at that - it's like comfort in a bowl.
Do you have a recipe that's your family's favorite? Or anything your spouse would eat seven nights a week if given the chance? I'm always looking for new recipes to add to our rotation!
On a side note, I'd love to feature your recipes on the blog! If you have a favorite dish and want to be featured, please send the name, ingredient list, process, and a few photos to thecrazylifeofj[at]gmail[dot]com - Also include your name and blog if you have one (if you have a blog, that is, as I'm assuming you have a name!)
Labels: Food, From the Recipe Box