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Old-Fashioned Chicken

Nostalgic Comfort: Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

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Prepare to embark on a journey back to simpler times with this classic recipe for Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings. Bursting with flavor and reminiscent of home-cooked meals from days gone by, this comforting dish is sure to warm your heart and soul. With tender chunks of chicken, hearty vegetables, and fluffy dumplings simmered in a rich, creamy sauce, this recipe is a true celebration of traditional Southern cooking. Let’s dive into the culinary nostalgia!

In a fast-paced world, there’s something truly comforting about a meal that evokes memories of family gatherings and cozy Sunday dinners. Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings is a timeless classic that has been passed down through generations, cherished for its simplicity and heartiness. Made with basic pantry staples and humble ingredients, this dish is the epitome of comfort food. Whether you’re craving a taste of nostalgia or simply seeking a hearty meal to warm your soul, this recipe is sure to hit the spot.

Ingredients:

For the Chicken:

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

For the Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5-6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed

For the Dumplings:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Step 1: Prepare the Chicken

  1. In a shallow dish, season the flour with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess.
  2. In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add half of the chicken pieces and cook until golden brown on all sides, about 5-6 minutes. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces, adding more olive oil if needed.

Step 2: Make the Sauce

  1. In the same pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the diced carrots, celery, and onion, and cook until softened, about 5-6 minutes.
  2. Stir in the bay leaves, dried thyme, and minced garlic, and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.
  3. Pour in the chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer.

Step 3: Simmer the Chicken and Vegetables

  1. Return the browned chicken pieces to the pot, along with any accumulated juices. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
  2. Stir in the heavy cream and thawed peas, and continue to simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 4: Prepare the Dumplings

  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and buttermilk together until well combined.
  3. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until a soft dough forms.

Step 5: Add the Dumplings to the Pot

  1. Drop spoonfuls of the dumpling dough into the simmering chicken and vegetable mixture, making sure not to overcrowd the pot.
  2. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the dumplings are cooked through and fluffy.

Step 6: Serve and Enjoy

  1. Remove the bay leaves from the pot and discard.
  2. Ladle the chicken and dumplings into bowls, garnish with freshly chopped parsley if desired, and serve hot.

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Shortcut Option: To save time, you can use rotisserie chicken instead of cooking the chicken from scratch. Simply shred the cooked chicken and add it to the pot along with the vegetables.
  • Creamy Variation: For an extra creamy sauce, stir in a splash of half-and-half or sour cream just before serving.
  • Herb Infusion: Experiment with different herbs such as rosemary, sage, or parsley to customize the flavor of the dish to your liking.

Keto and Low Carb Versions:

For those following a keto or low-carb lifestyle, here are some modifications you can make to enjoy this recipe:

  • Dumpling Substitute: Replace the traditional dumplings with low-carb alternatives made from almond flour or coconut flour.
  • Vegetable Adjustment: Reduce the amount of carrots and onions in the sauce to lower the carb content, or substitute them with keto-friendly vegetables such as cauliflower or broccoli.
  • Broth Choice: Use a low-sodium chicken broth or bone broth to control the sodium content of the dish.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I use pre-made biscuit dough for the dumplings? A: Yes, you can use canned biscuit dough as a shortcut for making dumplings. Simply tear off small pieces of biscuit dough and drop them into the simmering chicken and vegetable mixture, then cover and cook until they are cooked through.

Q: Can I make this recipe in a slow cooker? A: Absolutely! To make Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings in a slow cooker, follow steps 1 and 2 to brown the chicken and sauté the vegetables, then transfer everything to a slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients (except for the dumplings) and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Add the dumplings during the last hour of cooking and continue to cook until they are cooked through.

Q: Can I freeze leftovers? A: Yes, this dish freezes well. Simply transfer any leftover chicken and dumplings to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Q: Can I use bone-in chicken for this recipe? A: While boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs are recommended for ease of preparation, you can certainly use bone-in chicken pieces if preferred. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure that the chicken is fully cooked.

Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings is a timeless classic that never goes out of style. With its comforting flavors and hearty ingredients, this dish is a true crowd-pleaser that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re serving it up for a cozy family dinner or sharing it with friends at a potluck gathering, this recipe is sure to bring smiles to everyone’s faces. So gather your ingredients, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to enjoy a taste of nostalgia with this comforting Southern favorite!

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