It made my husband and I wake up this weekend wanting chicken and dumplings. Neither of us have a family recipe, so I did a quick search online (neither of us felt like getting up and digging through our library of cookbooks, either) and found Mommie Cooks. The recipe she hosted looked delicious and simple. So I wrote down the few ingredients I needed (just half-and-half, really) and made a quick trip to the store.
When I started digging in and actually prepping, I realized I made a grave error - I hadn't truly proofread the recipe. Yes, I had read through it, but I hadn't checked through it. I quickly found ingredients missing from the directions (the 2 bay leaves from the ingredients list? Not listed in the directions) and noticed the pictures didn't quite fully match the recipe (there are onions floating in one picture, yet they aren't in the ingredients list). I decided I could brave through and fix these mistakes here (I don't want to sound like I am calling her out, I mean she does appear to have her hands full, so maybe she was just distracted. It happens).
You can find the original recipe on Mommie Cooks' website [here]. Below is the adjusted bit - everything that I did differently and the approximate cook times that weren't listed. After the recipe, I will go into detail about what I plan to do differently next go-round (because there will be another go!).
For the Dough
2 Cups Flour
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
3/4 to 1 Cup Ice-Cold Water
- ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ -
For the Soup
4 Cups Chicken Stock
3 Chicken Breasts
4 Carrots, Chopped
2 Stalks Celery, Chopped
1/2 Onion, Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Bay Leaves
1/2 tsp Basil
1/2 tsp Oregano
1/2 tsp Celery Salt
1/2 Cup Half & Half
Start the Dough
Mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Slowly add the cold water until a firm dough forms. Flour your hands and knead for about 5 minutes. Set aside.
In a large pot add together your stock, chicken, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaves, basil, oregano, and celery salt. DO NOT ADD THE HALF-&-HALF! Heat on medium and cover until the chicken is cooked through - about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts. Once the chicken is cooked, remove and set side. Pull out the bay leaves, too.
While the chicken cooks, roll out the dough on a floured surface until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick. Cut into squares. After the chicken is removed, place the dumpling squares into the broth. As they cook up, they will rise to the top.
While your dumplings are cooking, shred the chicken [Tip Below]. Add to the soup. Pour in the half & half and stir to combine. Remove from heat and serve.
About 4-6 servings
Alright, now for the suggestions. While dumping things into the pot, I made the comment that the pot was very crowded - to the point that I was slightly afraid that there would be no stock left by the time the chicken was cooked. I'm happy to report that I was wrong about that. However, there were way too many vegetables for this to be a true chicken and dumpling soup - it tasted more like a chicken and vegetable soup with dumplings tossed in. This made me very sad.
This is not to say that this is a terrible recipe! On the contrary, it is very good and very delicious. I would suggest cutting down to 1/4 of an onion (or using 1/2 of a smaller onion; ours was very large) and definitely add in some pepper! Freshly cracked, if possible. It just missed that oomph the pepper adds. My husband claims there isn't enough salt, but I think it tasted fine on that point.
As for the consistency: I had hopes that adding the dumplings, dusted with a little extra flour, would help thicken it as the dumplings cooked, even just a little. It didn't really do much (not really surprising considering the overall amount of stock versus flour). It was still thinner than I would prefer a chicken and dumpling soup, but when reheated it was perfect (everything had time to absorb the stock in the fridge).
There was just the right amount of half & half to give it a creamy flavor without being too heavy on the dairy. My dumplings could have cooked a little longer (mine came out slightly chewy), but overall they were as expected. I would definitely recommend giving this recipe a try! And definitely check out Mommie Cooks, there are some absolutely divine looking meals posted and I can guarantee plenty of them will be in my kitchen soon!
To shred chicken, first make sure it is cooked! Then, lay it on your cutting board and take a fork in each hand, with the tines turned away from you (hold them in a fist, like you would hold bicycle handles). Use one to hold the chicken while the other scrapes the chicken down and out - toward the cutting board and away from the other fork. After a few swipes, your fork may be have a clump of chicken preventing more shredding. This is fine. Just scrape the chicken into a pile or into a bowl and continue.
If you hold the chicken at one side, you will end with a chicken nugget. Tear this apart by hand.
If you hold the chicken about halfway (for larger pieces), you will end with half a chicken. You can turn it around and repeat the process or stab and hold and repeat with the opposite fork.