Chicken and Dumplings

Fall is here!  I’m sure it’s impossible not to notice that with all of the pumpkin flavored items showing up everywhere.  I don’t deny that I get pretty excited when pumpkin arrives at Starbucks for the season, but fall has plenty of great flavors.  For me, fall is when I transition to meals that take a little longer to prepare and meals that qualify as comfort food.  Don’t worry though, pumpkin and apple will be making appearances here soon enough.  Just not today.

Okay, that’s not entirely true as this chicken and dumplings recipe includes apple cider.  When I first encountered this recipe, I was skeptical.  I added the cider anyway, and I haven’t made it any other way since.  I can’t describe exactly what makes the cider so important here, so you’ll have to trust me and add it.  My contribution to the original recipe was to add some peas.  I’ve also added corn if I feel like it.  Really you can add whatever vegetables you like, but I caution against adding so many that this becomes chicken pot pie soup.  The dumplings are simple to make, and the combination of cornmeal and half-and-half (I’ve used whole milk, but half-and-half does work better) makes a dumpling that holds together well without becoming a floury gluey mess.  This is a favorite of mine and I’m sure I’ll be making it again soon considering the rave reviews it received.

Chicken and Dumplings

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 C. flour
  • 1 cut up fryer chicken (or 2 lbs. bone-in chicken breast)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 C. roughly diced carrots
  • 1/2 C. roughly diced celery
  • 1 large onion, roughly diced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 6 C. low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 C. apple cider
  • 1/2 C. heavy cream
  • 1 C. frozen peas (optional)

for the dumplings:

  • 1 1/2 C. flour
  • 1/2 C. yellow cornmeal
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 C. half-and-half

Directions:

Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper on both sides, then dredge in the flour and shake off the excess flour.

In a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat.

Brown the chicken on both sides (do this in two batches) and then remove the chicken to a plate.

Add diced onion, carrots, and celery to the same pot you used for the chicken.

Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes over medium-low heat.

Stir in ground thyme.

Pour in chicken broth and apple cider and stir to combine.

Add the browned chicken to the pot.

Cover pot and simmer for 20 minutes.

While chicken is simmering, make the dough for the dumplings by sifting together all dry ingredients over a large bowl.

Add the half-and-half, stirring gently to combine. Set aside.

Remove the chicken from pot and set aside on a plate.

Use two forks to remove chicken from the bone and shred, then add chicken back into the pot.

Pour heavy cream into the pot and stir to combine.

Add the frozen peas to the pot.

Drop the dumpling dough by heaping tablespoons into the simmering pot.

Cover pot halfway and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.

Add salt if needed.

Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: adapted from The Pioneer Woman

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