Many people think dumplings originated during The Depression due to the fact that they are easy to pull together out of various scraps of food. But although the dish is known to be a mainstay in tough economic times, dumplings have been around a lot longer than that with early recipes popping up in cookbooks dating back to the 1600’s.
Chicken dumplings did not come until a bit later. Chickens were expensive animals valued for their eggs and rarely eaten until later on when they became a cheap commodity food. When this happened, recipes made with chicken became a lot more common and the first recipe for chicken dumplings appeared in the late 1800s.
Although chicken dumplings are usually found in soups, flour can also be added to the broth to make the consistency thicker. This will yield a casserole type dish that can be eaten with a fork.
Other variations include the Chinese wonton or matzah ball dumplings that are popular in Central European cultures.
The recipe we offer here is for a soup-like dish. The soup base is homemade, but you can easily substitute canned cream of chicken soup to save time. You can also add various vegetables to the broth to enhance the flavor and take the health factor up a notch.
When you make this chicken and dumplings recipe, you'll find out very quickly the secret to culinary happiness that great cooks know.
They know that it’s not a waste of kitchen skills to make a tasty dish from another era. They know that you can take care of your soul in a world that tells your body to keep going at full speed, just by turning a few simple ingredients into a nourishing meal.
And by doing so, you’ll end up with great chicken and dumplings that take comfort food to a new level.
Chicken and Dumplings
1 whole chicken, cut up (3-4 pounds)
8 cups water
3 medium carrots (diced)
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Cream of Chicken Soup Ingredients: **(you may substitute canned cream of chicken soup – see note below)
3/4 cups additional chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon parsley
dash of paprika
3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons flour
2 cups flour
1 cup milk (whole milk)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3 Tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 tsp. salt
1. Place chicken in a large pot with celery, carrots, parsley, thyme, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. Cover with 8 cups of water.
2. Simmer for one hour, until tender. Remove the chicken and cool enough to remove the meat from the bone.
3. Return chicken meat to pot and broth.
4. Make the cream of chicken soup by boiling in a medium-sized saucepan: the 3/4 cups additional chicken broth, 1/2 of the milk, and the seasonings for about 2 minutes.
5. In a bowl, whisk together the remaining milk and flour. Add to boiling mixture and continue whisking briskly until mixture boils and thickens.
6. Add the cream of chicken soup to the chicken meat and broth in the large pot and simmer gently.
7. To make the dumplings mix flour, baking powder and salt. Work in the butter with fingertips. Gradually add the milk.
8. Roll into golf ball sized balls, then flatten to 1/2 inch thickness.
9. Drop carefully into the hot broth and simmer the chicken and dumplings 10 minutes longer, making sure to ladle broth over the dumplings to submerge them as they cook.
**NOTE: You many substitute one can of cream of chicken soup in place of the homemade version. If you decide to do this, skip steps #4 and #5. We recommend trying it at least one time with the homemade version.
Other Dinners to Try
Once you're done making this chicken and dumplings recipe, try out these other great dinner ideas:
- Tacos. After making this recipe, you'll likely be looking for something a little easier to make for the next night's dinner. A taco bar is a great option! Grab some tortillas or hard shells from the store and set out all the fillers your family can use. Your kids will enjoy being able to choose what goes in their tacos.
- Quesadillas. Quesadillas are relatively easy to make, but very filling. They can be filled with whatever you want, but cheese, steak, and chicken are popular choices. Serve with guacamole or salsa for a dipping sauce, if you'd like.
- Surf ‘n turf. If you're up for another involved meal, try making your own surf ‘n turf! This is a great choice if it's summertime, especially if you're doing a cookout. Steak and lobster is a popular combo for this meal, but you can use whatever meat and fish you'd like.
- Chicken parmesan. Chicken parmesan is a great way to change up regular pasta. Eating pasta alone can get boring after a while! Chicken parmesan is breaded chicken covered in melted cheese and marinara sauce. It's usually served over or with pasta.
- Chicken marsala. Looking for something on the fancier side? Chicken marsala is a great option! This meal involves taking chicken cutlets and serving them with a Marsala wine reduction. Mushrooms and various herbs are usually added for flavor.
- French onion soup. Arguably one of the world's most popular soups, French onion can be served as a main course. There are dozens of recipes out there for you to check out; experiment with a few and find the one that your family likes best. This is a delicious, cozy meal that's perfect for cold nights.
- Baked ziti. Want a way to change up your pasta dinner without having to use chicken? Baked ziti is a great choice. This cheesy, saucy dinner will delight anyone who digs into it. Add meat if you want, or leave it out for a vegetarian version.