The first time I tasted chicken dumpling was at my in-laws, it was something new to me,Hearty, excellent for a cold weather day. I enjoyed the flavour; I loved the plumped dumpling floating on the surface. It was a complete meal in one dish. My late mother-in law prepared the dumpling using half butter and half tender flakes, something I am not used to, and I don’t like the flavour of Lard but I like the flaky texture it gives the dough.
I like warm hearty meals in the winter cold weather, and this year was no exception, we didn’t get lots of snow as the past years, but boy it is extremely cold, we did break the cold records for several weeks.
Creating a good fluffy dumpling is tricky, it needs to be prepared and mixed lightly using a wooden spoon and not kneaded by hand, to avoid over mixing, and sometimes they do get stiff
I know from my baking experience that if you warm the fat and rubbed it in the flour it turns it into flaky and crumbly dough. One day I was watching the cook’s country program on TV and they were preparing chicken dumpling and the chef warmed the milk and butter in the microwave for one minute and then mixed it in the flour and used a wooden spoon to mix the dough. This confirmed my theory in heating the butter and rubbed it in the flour. The result will be firm but light fluffy dumplings which do not absorb the liquid in the stew.
Ingredients for 5-6 servings
4 pounds whole chicken or chicken pieces4 teaspoons vegetable oil optional
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick) optional
4 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick, double if you are making the stock
2 ribs celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick, double if you are making the stock
1 large whole onion with some cloves inserted in it for the stock
1 large onion minced
Stick of cinnamon, lemon rind for the stock
3 x 2 bay leaves
8 whole peppercorns for the stock
3-4 tablespoon all-purpose flour (I didn't use it as the dumpling will thicken the soup)
1/4 cup dry sherry or white wine (optional)
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup whole milk (Don't use low-fat or fat-free milk in this recipe)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup frozen green peas
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons reserved chicken fat (or unsalted butter)
InstructionsYou have two methods, either to follow my healthy method or follow the recipe II
Healthy preparation:I try to avoid frying any food, and use the baking method instead.
v Clean the chicken dry with paper towel, then rub it with couple spoons of olive oil and sprinkle sea salt and fresh black pepper, bake it in a high heat for 30 minutes till the skin starts getting gold.
v Let the chicken cool, save the fat dripping in a bowl. Skin the chicken and put it in a Dutch oven or deep pot and cover it with 4 cups of homemade chicken stock, or cover the chicken with 6 cups of water, add one part of the carrots, celery, the whole onion with the cloves, a cinnamon stick, 3 bay leaves, the peppercorns, and the lemon rind or half of a lemon, cook the stock for one hour.
v Skim any foam on top.
v After one hour transfer the chicken to a plate and strain the stock and wash the pot.
v Skim any fat floating on top of the stock.
v Use two teaspoon of the chicken dripping in the Dutch oven and cook the flour then add the milk little by little, add the sherry or white wine stir, then the thyme and cook for
7-10 minutes add the chicken, the stock, bay leaves, the remaining veggies and cook for 30 minutes.
v Transfer the chicken to a plate; continue cooking the veggies till the stock thickens.
v Shred the chicken and return it to the pot, add the peas, chopped parsley and adjust the seasoning. Simmer the stew on low heat.
v Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat two teaspoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven or deep pot over medium-high heat until just smoking, add half of the chicken and cook until golden on both sides. Transfer the chicken to a plate and remove the browned skin. Pour off the chicken fat and reserve. Return the pot to medium-high heat and repeat with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and the remaining chicken. Pour off and reserve any chicken fat.
v Add the butter to the Dutch oven and melt over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, and onion, add salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the flour. Whisk in the sherry, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in the broth, milk, thyme, and bay leaves. Nestle the chicken, with any accumulated juices, into the pot. Cover and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked and tender, about 1 hour.
v Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Discard the bay leaves. Allow the sauce to settle for a few minutes, and then skim the fat from the surface using a wide spoon. Shred the chicken, discarding the bones, and return it to the stew.
Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Microwave the milk and fat (if using the remaining dripping or the butter) in a microwave-safe bowl on high until just warm (do not over-heat), for 1 minute. Stir the warmed milk mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until incorporated and smooth.
Return the stew to a simmer, stir in the peas and parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Following the photos below, using two tablespoons drop golf-ball-sized dumplings over the top of the stew, about 1/4 inch apart (you should have about 18 dumplings). Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the dumplings have doubled in size, 18-20 minutes