It's that time of the year when much of the country is wet, cold and dreary. We often look to the comfort foods of our childhood on these chilly days. For me, one special dish during winter that I crave is chicken and dumplings. And, even though I do make a few different versions, I always seem to revert back to the classic recipe that I grew up with when I crave the "real deal."
Made on the stove in a big pot.
Hoards of shredded, tender chicken.
Luxurious, but simple "gravy" made with homemade chicken stock.
And, from-scratch dumplings that almost melt in my mouth.
Those are the components of on-point chicken and dumplings in my book. A labor of love. Childhood comfort food at its finest. The ideal weekend dinner on a brisk winter's day. Served with buttery mashed potatoes ... best comfort food ever.
Serves 4 - 6.
8 cups chicken
stock (preferably homemade)
3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon COLD water
cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 heaping tablespoons
3/4 cup buttermilk
In a large stock pot set over medium-high heat, heat the stock until simmering. Add in shredded chicken.
Mix together the cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl until no lumps remain. To slightly thicken the broth, slowly drizzle in the cornstarch "slurry" to the stock/chicken while stirring briskly. (Thickening should happen within a few minutes.)
Check for seasoning. Add salt and pepper as desired.
Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the shortening. Stir in the buttermilk until the dough just comes together. Do not over work the dough.
Drop dough into the simmering stock by the spoonful. Lid and reduce heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove lid and cook for about 10 additional minutes or until dumplings are "set." Turn off heat and allow chicken and dumplings to rest for 10 minutes prior to serving.
NOTE: While dumplings are cooking, it may be necessary to move them around a little with a spoon to allow some of the gravy to bubble up through the dumplings. This ensures that the dumplings do not form into one large mass while cooking and, also, allows for gravy/broth to coat some of the dumplings a bit - especially on the sides.