There's little more comforting than homemade Chicken and Dumplings. This recipe is a slight twist on the classic version. The recipe begins with a couple of chicken breasts simmered until tender in a rich, savory broth. Next, the broth is thickened with a cornstarch slurry and a splash of heavy cream. Then, instead of dropping biscuit dough into the thick, steamy broth to cook on the stove top, the chicken and "gravy" is loaded into a casserole dish, topped with half-moons of buttermilk biscuits and popped into the oven to bake to golden, bubbly bliss.
The result is the familiar flavors present in classic Chicken and Dumplings, of course, But, the biscuits are taken to new heights due to the browning on top of the casserole. The bottoms of the biscuits bake up - moist and soft - submerged in bubbling gravy while the tops of the biscuits puff up to golden, magical perfection.
Serves 4 - 6.
8 cups hot water
5 chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
2 large boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup cold water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Salt, as needed
14 - 16 frozen buttermilk biscuits, slightly thawed and cut in half
Bring 8 cups of hot water to a boil in a large soup pot over high heat. Add in bouillon cubes, poultry seasoning, Herbes de Provence and chicken breasts. Reduce heat to medium. Poach chicken around twenty minutes or until meat is cooked through. Transfer chicken to a plate or cutting board. Carefully shred with two forks. Return chicken to cooking broth. Increase heat to high.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Whisk 1/2 cup COLD water with cornstarch in a small bowl until no lumps remain. Stir cornstarch "slurry" into the simmering broth. Cook 5 - 10 minutes while broth slightly thickens and returns to a boil.
Stir in heavy cream. Allow liquid to simmer for another 5 - 10 minutes until it resembles the consistency of gravy.
Stir in pepper. Taste and add salt as needed.
Pour chicken and gravy into a greased 3 - 4 quart oval (or similar) casserole dish. Arrange biscuits - cut side down - in the gravy. About half of each biscuit should remain above the gravy level. (Biscuits can be arranged in any pattern or rows as desired.)
Place dish on a foil-lined sheet pan to catch any drips.
Bake for 35 - 45 minutes (or until casserole is bubbly and tops of biscuits are lightly browned).
Remove from oven and serve immediately.
NOTE: 1 cup of frozen-style mixed vegetables that have been thawed can be added into gravy if desired.