Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Chicken and Dumplings


Published February 15, 2005. From Cook's Illustrated


Chicken and dumplings make chicken pot pie look easy. There’s no disguising a leaden dumpling. One goal was to develop a dumpling that was light yet substantial, and tender yet durable. The other was to develop a well-rounded recipe that, like chicken pot pie, included vegetables, therein supplying the cook with a complete meal in one dish.

Dumplings can contain myriad ingredients, and there are just as many different ways to mix them. We tried them all—with disastrous results. But when we stumbled on a unique method of adding warm liquid rather than cold to the flour and fat, our dumplings were great—firm but light and fluffy. The reason? The heat expands and sets the flour so that the dumplings don’t absorb liquid in the stew. The best-tasting dumplings were made with all-purpose flour, whole milk, and the chicken fat left from browning the chicken.SERVE 6 TO 8

Don't use low-fat or fat-free milk in this recipe. Start the dumpling dough only when you're ready to top the stew with the dumplings.


  • Stew
  • 5pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 4teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 4tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 4carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2ribs celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1large onion, minced
  • 6tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4cup dry sherry
  • 4 1/2cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4cup whole milk
  • 1teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 2bay leaves
  • 1cup frozen green peas
  • 3tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Dumplings
  • 2cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1tablespoon baking powder
  • 1teaspoon table salt
  • 1cup whole milk
  • 3tablespoons reserved chicken fat (or unsalted butter)


  1. 1. For the Stew: Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of the chicken and cook until golden on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and remove the browned skin. Pour off the chicken fat and reserve. Return the pot to medium-high heat and repeat with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and the remaining chicken. Pour off and reserve any chicken fat.
    2. Add the butter to the Dutch oven and melt over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the flour. Whisk in the sherry, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in the broth, milk, thyme, and bay leaves. Nestle the chicken, with any accumulated juices, into the pot. Cover and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked and tender, about 1 hour.
    3. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Discard the bay leaves. Allow the sauce to settle for a few minutes, then skim the fat from the surface using a wide spoon. Shred the chicken, discarding the bones, then return it to the stew.
    4. For the Dumplings: Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Microwave the milk and fat in a microwave-safe bowl on high until just warm (do not over-heat), about 1 minute. Stir the warmed milk mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until incorporated and smooth.
    5. Return the stew to a simmer, stir in the peas and parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Following the photos below, drop golf-ball-sized dumplings over the top of the stew, about 1/4 inch apart (you should have about 18 dumplings). Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the dumplings have doubled in size, 15 to 18 minutes. Serve.



1. Gather a golf-ball-sized portion of the dumpling batter onto a soup spoon, then push the dumpling onto the stew using a second spoon.
2. Cover the stew with the dumplings, leaving about 1/4 inch between each.
3. When fully cooked, the dumplings will have doubled in size.

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