Okay, so my husband Chris is a Southern boy – born and bred. He grew up on macaroni and cheese (from a box, YUCK), mashed potatoes, fried chicken, sweet tea, pulled pork…the works. I on the other hand am still not the biggest fan of Southern food; it’s mostly unhealthy, fried, greasy, processed and bland. I have been making more of an effort though, and some of the food can be made from scratch so I’ve kind of forced some of these menu items to be healthy. The other day I tried making chicken and dumplings for the first time and they were so easy – a complete success! Chris even said they were the best he’d ever had! I did add a couple seasonings that were not traditional to make it a bit more interesting, but overall I really enjoyed this meal too! I’ve actually made it twice already. So below is a pretty standard recipe for chicken and dumplings, plus a few moderations:
Homemade Chicken & Dumplings
Two or three good-sized boneless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped/shredded
8 cups chicken broth (to save money, I always buy the chicken bouillon cubes and make my own broth with boiling water)
2 cups all purpose flour (plus extra to flour your surface)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp butter
3/4 cup milk
– In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the butter – I usually just shave it into the bowl with a knife or spoon, and then rub it into the dry ingredients with my fingertips, the way you would make shortbread. Make sure the butter is well mixed in. Stir in the milk until it forms a ball of dough. Depending on how it’s looking, I usually end up adding extra flour or extra milk until I get that dough-like consistency. You definitely don’t want it to be too sticky or crumbly.
Roll out the dough onto floured waxed paper (the waxed paper you can skip, but it helps prevent the dough sticking to my counter top) until it’s about 1/4 or 1/2 an inch thick. Then, using a pizza cutter (or a thin knife), slice the dough into squares. I would say no bigger than 2×2 inches but mine always end up various shapes and sizes! Put the cut dumplings onto a plate or more waxed paper, if you need to stack on top of each other make sure there’s enough flour in between to prevent them sticking.
Bring the chicken broth to a good rolling boil. This is when I add my seasoning – salt, pepper, a little italian seasoning, a little ground coriander. It can really be whatever you want. The rest of the dish is pretty bland so that’s a great base to work from! Once the broth is boiling well (and that is very, very important) drop the dumplings in one by one as it boils, stirring constantly.
Once all the dumplings are in, you can turn down the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. As it’s simmering if the broth looks a little watery (we like ours to be thicker) you can mix a little flour with a little milk and add that to the broth to thicken it up. Just do a little at a time and let the heat help, otherwise if you add too much all you’ll taste is flour.
Add the cooked chicken to the mix, make sure that’s heated through and serve! What a comforting, cheap and easy dish to make on a blustery day.