Why It Works
- A flour-and-butter roux creates a creamy sauce for the dumplings.
- A biscuit-like dough with an added egg makes fluffy and tender dumplings.
My mother never made us chicken n' dumplings growing up, but I'm versed enough in the American cooking vernacular to know that there are two great schisms in the chicken n' dumplings universe. We can all agree the meat should be tender, the dish should be overwhelmingly comforting, and one serving is never enough. What we have a bit more trouble with is the broth and the dumplings.
Some insist the broth ought to be clear, nearly soup-like in body, while others like theirs creamy, opaque, and rich. In extreme cases, folks even insist the liquid portion should be as thick as gravy, pooling into a slow puddle that creeps across a plate rather than splashes in a bowl.
The dumplings are an equally great divide. Thick, noodle-y dumplings, or biscuit-like balls?
Well, at the risk (OK, near certainty) of angering half of the readers here, I offer the version that I've been making for the last few years and will be raising my own children to believe is the One True Chicken N' Dumplings recipe—a recipe that's flexible enough to use leftover turkey.
Mine has drop dumplings made with a biscuit-like dough, albeit a little leaner than my normal biscuit dough, with an egg to help them puff as they simmer. They come out soft and tender on the outside, with a slick surface that reminds me a bit the top layer of dough in a New York pizza, right where it meets the sauce. The centers of the biscuits are light, fluffy, and tender.
I make my broth rich and creamy, but not so rich and creamy that you can't eat a bowl of it with a spoon without wanting to fall asleep immediately afterwards.
Whether you make it with leftover turkey or roast chicken (as I heartily suggest you do), save some gravy and add it to the broth before you add the dumplings for some extra richness.
These are my dumplings, and I'm sticking to them. My children are free to explore other options once they are self-supportive and no longer living under my roof.
This recipe was cross-tested in 2022 and lightly edited for improved results; in particular, the baking power was increased for lighter, fluffier dumplings.
6 tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (7.5 ounces; 216g), divided
1 1/2 quarts (1.4L) homemade chicken stock or store-bought low-sodium broth
1 cup (237ml) leftover gravy (optional)
1 large onion (12 ounces; 340g), finely sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 medium carrots(10 ounces; 280g), cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 medium ribs celery, (about 8 ounces; 225g), cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 pound (453g) leftover roast turkey, torn into bite-size pieces (about 4 cups)
1 1/2 cups thawed frozen peas, (7 1/2 ounces; 210g)
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems (1 ounce; 28g), divided
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 1/4 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt (for table salt use half as much by volume), divided
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1/2 cup (118ml) buttermilk
1 large egg
In a large Dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons (45g) butter over medium-high heat until melted. Add 3 tablespoons (24g) flour and cook, stirring constantly, until pale golden brown, about 3 minutes. Slowly whisk in broth. Add gravy, if using, along with onions, carrots, and celery. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in turkey, peas, and half of parsley, and season to taste with pepper and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Remove from heat.
Melt remaining 3 tablespoons (45g) butter. In a medium bowl, stir together remaining 1 1/2 cups (192g) flour, baking powder, chives, remaining parsley, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt. In a second bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, and melted butter in a second bowl. Pour buttermilk mixture over flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a shaggy dough.
Return stew to a bare simmer. Using a tablespoon measure, drop dumpling dough in 1-inch balls over surface of stew. Cover and cook until dumplings have puffed, feel firm to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in center of one comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 21g||27%|
|Saturated Fat 10g||50%|
|Total Carbohydrate 45g||16%|
|Dietary Fiber 5g||17%|
|Total Sugars 6g|
|Vitamin C 16mg||79%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|