There’s nothing like a bowl of hot comfort food on a cold winter’s day — or any other time you need it. Chicken and dumplings offer plenty of comfort without all the hard work. Chunks of tender, protein-packed chicken and light, fluffy dumplings make for the perfect combination of melt-in-your-mouth satisfaction, and it only takes a few simple ingredients to put together. Follow this basic 10-step classic chicken and dumplings recipe and satisfy your soothing-food craving.
Choose a four- or a five-pound whole chicken to cook. A pink hue indicates a fresh chicken, while chicken with a dark color should be discarded. Once you select your chicken, wash it thoroughly with water, then place it in a large pot suitable for cooking. Fill the pot with water until the chicken is fully immersed.
To create a savory broth, add a half-teaspoon of ground pepper, along with a teaspoon of sea salt. Include three-to-five bay leaves for added flavor. Five tablespoons of butter in the broth will add richness.
Cover the soup pot with a lid and cook on high heat until the water begins to boil. Do not let the water boil continuously, as this can cause fat from the chicken to boil off and infuse your broth, making it cloudy and greasy. To ensure the fat floats to the surface of the water so you can easily remove it later, reduce the broth to low heat immediately after boiling and let the chicken and broth simmer for about an hour.
After simmering, check to ensure your chicken is fully cooked. Carefully remove a piece from the pot. The meat should be tender enough to release easily from the bone. Slice the piece through with a knife. If the chicken is white throughout, it is safe to eat. If you notice any red or dark pink areas, the chicken needs additional cooking time.
Remove the chicken from the pot and place on a cutting board. Set the pot of broth aside to use later. Once the chicken is cool to the touch, remove the skin and use two forks to debone the chicken and shred it into one-inch pieces. Return the chicken pieces to the broth, replace the cover, then simmer on medium heat.
Grab a medium-sized mixing bowl and use a fork to combine a half-teaspoon of salt, one cup of flour, two tablespoons of vegetable oil and a half-teaspoon of baking powder. Slowly stir in a half-cup of milk. Your dumpling mix should be moist but not over-mixed, which can result in sticky dough.
Lightly flour a surface large enough to spread your dough out on. Turn the dough out on the floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to one-eighth thickness. Use a sharp serrated blade to cut the dough. A dull blade will pull the dough and make cutting difficult.
Carefully add the dumplings to the broth and stir while simmering for fifteen to twenty minutes. Remove a dumpling and insert a toothpick to ensure the dumplings are properly cooked. If the toothpick comes out clean, your dumplings are done. Take care not to cook the dumplings too long, as they can become heavy and lose their light and fluffy texture.
Cream makes your chicken and dumplings extra succulent and flavorful. Pour a half a cup of heavy whipping cream into a mixing bowl and add a pinch of salt and pepper before stirring. You can mix in a teaspoon of thyme and a teaspoon of basil for more flavor.
After your dumplings are fully cooked, slowly add the cream into your chicken and dumpling broth. Continue stirring with a mixing spoon until the cream is fully blended with the broth. Remove the pot from the heat and let your chicken and dumplings settle for fifteen minutes to allow the broth to thicken slightly. Add in any additional seasonings, stir them in thoroughly and ladle into a bowl for an instant comfort food classic.
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