Easy Chicken & Dumplings
Total Time: 1
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
The word dumpling goes back to 17th-century England, but the practice of cooking little pieces of dough in soup or stew goes back much further, in both Europe and Asia. Chicken and dumplings like these, in which lightly leavened dough is cooked in chicken stew, have their roots in Pennsylvania Dutch and Acadian cooking. This dish, which we've adapted from our friends at The Old Farmer's Almanac, is a wonderfully efficient way to use a chicken. The whole bird goes into the pot to make the broth, and then the meat is added back in at the end with some aromatics and the dumplings.
To make this dish easier, we made the dumplings by simply dropping them into the broth, rather than rolling them out and cutting them into strips. It's also one of the most satisfying and comforting foods you can make, perfect for any rainy or snowy or otherwise grim and sniffly day.
For the soup:
1 whole 4- to 5-pound chicken
5 bay leaves
4 tablespoons salted butter
1-1/2 tablespoons table salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 large carrots, sliced into half-moons about 1/2 inch thick
2 large stalks celery, sliced crosswise about 1/4 inch thick
1 large yellow onion, diced
Garnish: minced fresh parsley
Wash the chicken and put into a large soup pot. Cover with 1 to 2 inches of water and add bay leaves, butter, salt, and pepper. Cover, set over high heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and gently simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 hour.
When the chicken is done, transfer it to a cutting board, leaving the broth and bay leaves in the pot. When chicken is cool enough to handle, pull the meat from the bone in small pieces and set aside (discard bones, skin, and other waste).
For the dumplings:
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
2 small eggs
Meanwhile, make the dumplings: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the oil and stir to coat the flour, then add the water and eggs. Stir just enough to combine.
Bring the broth back to a boil and add carrots, celery, and onion. Drop the dumpling dough into the boiling broth, a heaping tablespoon at a time, to form balls. Boil approximately 20 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the dumplings are done (they'll be slightly puffed) and the broth is a bit thicker. Return the chicken to the pot in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Serve hot, garnished with parsley.