Sometimes we just really want comfort food. Maybe it’s cold outside, maybe we don’t feel well. Whatever the reason, we want something warm and homey preferably from our childhood. Oddly, I did not have Chicken & Dumplings for the first time until I was an adult. I remember the first time I tried it out I was at a country cooking restaurant. I was a bit wary of the dumplings. Honestly, upon first glance, they did not look appetizing.
Oh they were. They were incredible. I was hooked from that moment on. The problem with Chicken & Dumplings is that most recipes are quite heavy. It’s hard to find a recipe that isn’t overly caloric and still tasty. I have tried several “light” recipes in the past only to be disappointed that I ended up with more of a broth based soup then a comforting stewlike meal.
A few years back, my husband purchased the The Best of Cooking Light: Everyday Favorites for me. It’s a really awesome cookbook with some great light recipes inside. My favorite though is the recipe for Chicken & Dumplings From Scratch. It’s a bit time consuming and there are a LOT of ingredients…but that’s comfort food. Food that comes from real ingredients and keeps you in the kitchen for a bit, right?
This isn’t quite as thick as some Chicken & Dumpling recipes, but it is thicker then your average “light” version. We are big fans of this recipe, I hope you enjoy it as well.
Chicken & Dumplings From Scratch
Adapted from The Best of Cooking Light: Everyday Favorites
- 1 whole chicken
- 3 qts water
- 3 cups chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped carrot
- salt and pepper to taste
- 10 garlic cloves (peeled)
- 4 thyme sprigs (or you can use dried thyme)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 3 tbsp heavy cream
- 3/4 cup 1% low fat milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp cornmeal
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- black pepper
- Add water, chicken and next 8 ingredients to a stockpot, bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and continue simmering for about 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked throroughly. Remove chicken and allow to cool. Strain stock and discard the solids (I actually save them and serve them in the stew). Remove the chicken meat from the bones and refrigerate. Let stock cool to room temp
- Pour stock into 2 zip top bags and let stand around 15 minutes. Snip off the end of one of the baggies and pour the liquid back into the stockpot…stopping the liquid right before the layer of fat starts to drain out. Do this with all of the stock and discard the fat and baggies (yuck). Bring stock to a boil and reduce down to a simmer until it reduces to around 8 cups (about 15 minutes or so).
- Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add 1/4 cup of flour to the pan and cook 1 minute until lightly browned. Combine the browned flour and cornstarch in a bowl, add 2/3 cup of stock to the flour mixture and whisk until smooth (you might have to add a bit more stock…make sure it’s creamy). Add flour mixture to remaning stock and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and stir in the cream. Add chicken and keep warm over low heat.
- Prepare the dumplings: Combine milk & egg in a bowl. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, cornmeal and 1/2 tsp salt in a separate bowl. Slowly add flour mixture to milk mixture until moistened.
- Drop 1/3 of dumpling batter by 8 heaping teaspoonfuls into chicken mixture. Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes until dumplings are done. Remove the dumplings from the broth and set aside. Continue for the other 2/3 of dumpling batter.
- Remove pan from heat and pour stew over dumplings. Sprinkle with parsley & black pepper. If you saved the veggies from earlier…add those in as well. Serve immediately. Yum.
It’s kind of an involved recipe, one that you will want to start earlier in the day. But so worth it when only comfort food will hit the spot!