A bowl of chicken and dumplings is the perfect comfort food during the winter. With just a small list of ingredients - a whole roasting chicken, eggs, flour, chicken broth, chicken bouillon cubes, butter, and some salt and pepper - you can easily create this popular Southern dish. But, there can be more to chicken and dumplings than just the base recipe.
Thaw and clean the whole roasting chicken and remove the giblets. Place the chicken in a large stockpot and cover it with water.
Bring it to a boil and let it cook for about an hour.
Remove the chicken and put it in a large bowl to cool.
Strain broth to remove loose particles and return it to the stockpot. Keep the broth on a low heat.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix two cups of chicken broth with two eggs. Add flour until it becomes a thick paste (should take about 2 to 3 cups).
Generously sprinkle flour on the counter. Take a handful of paste and work more flour into the mixture while forming a doughy ball. (Make sure it is firm enough to roll out without sticking to the work surface and rolling pin.) Roll the dough ball flat with a rolling pin.
Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut dough into strips that are one-inch wide and two inches long.
Drop the dumplings into the stockpot with the chicken broth. Repeat until you are out of dough.
Once the chicken is cool, remove the skin, pull it apart, cut into small pieces, and discard the bones. Add the chicken pieces to the stockpot (after adding the dumplings) and return to a boil. Stir.
Cook the chicken and dumplings for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Add more chicken broth, chicken bouillon cubes, and butter to add flavor, stir occasionally until you reach the desired consistency.
To complement the chicken flavor, you can add different herbs, spices, and veggies to the mix. Some common additions include:
If you would like to substitute whole wheat dumplings for the traditional kind, try this idea from Food & Wine.
In a medium bowl, mix white and whole-wheat flour with some Parmesan, milk, and egg, season with the salt and pepper. Roll out and cut into strips before adding to your simmering broth.
You can opt to keep the dish light and stick with chicken broth for the soup. But, if you want to go all-out Southern, make the dish extra creamy by adding cream of chicken soup. The canned version will work. But, to take your chicken and dumpling game to the next level, consider making the cream of chicken soup from scratch with some chicken broth, heavy cream, and a variety of veggies and spices.
Chicken and dumplings is a mild-flavored dish that has a soft texture, and it is easily a meal in itself. But, if you prefer to add sides, it is traditionally served with veggies like green beans and okra, or extra carbs like macaroni and cheese and biscuits.
Whatever you choose to serve on the side, it is a good idea to mix up textures and flavors with dishes that are sweet or spicy. Consider a salad mixed with fruits like cranberries, some crisp greens, and a spicy dressing.
You can also go with a sour/vinegary option like sauerkraut or sweet and sour red cabbage to balance out the meal.
When it comes down to it, you can add anything on the side!
With so many different styles and variations of this classic comfort food, you are sure to find the perfect one for you and your family.