Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings

The days really are warming.  There are the prettiest strawberries in the market.  It might almost be time to daydream about watermelon wedges.  But… I still need soup.  The unapologetically comforting kind of soup with soft carrots, big bites of chicken, almost too much thyme, and the fluffiest floating dumplings.  

It’s Winter comforts in Spring.  Let’s bridge the gap.  You know… like wearing a light scarf or shoes with no socks… except this is food and way way delicious.    

Chicken and Dumplings

Boneless and skinless chicken thighs to start.  I like chicken thighs because they’re more fatty and flavorful than chicken breast.  Always go for flavor!  

The meat is seasoned well and browned in hot hot olive oil.  This is where the layers of flavor begin.  

Chicken and Dumplings

The holy trinity for soups!  Necessary and proper:  diced onions, sliced carrots, and sliced celery.  Oh… a little garlic too, because YES! 

Chicken and Dumplings

Once the chicken is browned on each side it is removed from the pot and our vegetables are sautéed in the chicken oil.  Dried thyme is added too.  The saute heat helps bloom the flavor of dried seasoning. 

Layers.  More layers of flavor.  

Chicken and Dumplings

Once the veggies are softened a bit, time for the return of the chicken, this time with a bay leaf and chicken stock.  

This is when the soup becomes soup!  Veggies cooked down and chicken cooked through! 

Chicken and Dumplings

Green peas and fresh parsley to really brighten the whole pot.  

Chicken and Dumplings

Once the chicken is simmered to tender and cooked through, I remove it from the pan and chop-shred it.  Technical term.  I also burn the heck outta my fingers because the chicken is super steamy and I’m too impatient to wait for it to cool.  Be like me! 

Chicken and Dumplings

Soup simmers and we make our dumplings.  

Of course there’s butter.  

I actually used King Arthur Gluten Free Flour Blend for these dumplings and they were delicious!  

Chicken and Dumplings

The butter is broken down into the seasoned flour mixture.  A beaten egg and a bit of buttermilk to bring the dumpling dough together!  

Chicken and Dumplings

The batter will be homogenous, a little sticky but not too wet.  

Chicken and Dumplings

Ok!  Game face! Time to dollop dumpling batter into simmering soup!  (This is totally the best part!)

Chicken and Dumplings

Grab a small spoon from the silverware drawer.  Heap it up with about 2 tablespoons of dough and zing it right into the simmering soup.  

Zing it! 

Once all the dumplings are in and simmering, we cover the pot for 10 minutes to let the dumplings simmer and cook.  It’s tremendous… like little biscuits in hot soup!  

Chicken and Dumplings

Warm and classic comfort in a bowl.  And no… you’re not allowed to fish out all of the dumplings for your own consumption.  I already thought of that and beat you to it.  

Chicken and Dumplings


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For the Soup
  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  3. salt and pepper to season chicken thighs
  4. 1 large yellow onion, coarsely diced
  5. 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
  6. 4 ribs celery, trimmed and sliced
  7. 1 clove garlic, minced
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  9. 2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
  10. 1 bay leaf
  11. 1 cup frozen peas
  12. 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  13. salt and pepper to taste
For the Dumplings
  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  5. 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  6. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold
  7. 1 large egg, beaten
  8. 1/4 cup buttermilk, cold
Instructions
  1. To make the soup, place oil in a heavy bottom soup pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides. Place in the soup pan to brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and place on a plate. Chicken won’t be fully cooked through but it will return to the pot to simmer a bit later.
  3. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and thyme to the pot. Stir and saute until the onions are cooked through and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  4. Return the chicken to the pot. Add the bay leaf and chicken stock.
  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are cooked through and softened, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  6. Remove the chicken when it is cooked through and carefully chop and shred it. Return the chicken to the pan.
  7. While the soup simmers. Make the dumplings. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, thyme, and pepper. Add the butter and use your fingers to break it down into the flour mixture creating small flecks of butter throughout the mixture.
  8. Add the beaten egg and buttermilk and stir until just combined. Try not to over-stir the dumpling dough.
  9. When the vegetables in the soup are cooked through and the chicken is chopped and returned to the pot, bring the soup to a light simmer and season to taste. Stir in peas and parsley. Use a small spoon to gently dollop about 2 tablespoons of dough into the simmering soup.
  10. The dumpling may sink, but will rise to the surface of the soup as it cooks. Add all of the dumplings.
  11. Cover the pot. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
  12. After 10 minutes the dumplings should be cooked through. Remove from heat and serve warm!
Adapted from Whole Foods Market

Hungarian Paprika Chicken

On any given day my diet is consistently composed of scrambled eggs (seriously the perfect food), some variety of baked goods fresh from the oven, cheese (lots of cheese) and tea (I drink so much I run out of mugs).

Have I mentioned that I love scrambled eggs?  I’m convinced that the perfect way to eat them is in tortillas, standing in the sunny spot in my kitchen flipping through cookbooks.

But this post obviously is not about my love for the egg.

There are days that I decide to slow down, take a deep breath and make myself something other than scrambled eggs for dinner.  On those days I go for my no frills, yet somehow impressive Hungarian Paprika Chicken dish.  It’s flavored with sweet Hungarian Paprika, onions, tomatoes, and the added creaminess of a touch of sour cream.  Served it over a bed of buttery egg noodles, and the world is instantly coming up roses.

Everyone should have a no fail chicken recipe in their back pocket.  This is mine.  From my stove top to yours.

As a note, I think the big red tin of Hungarian Paprika is the only way to go with this chicken.  You should be able to find it in your local grocery stores,  it’s not a fancy pants thing.

Go say hello to the boys at Foodproof for my recipe.  It’s a winner, I cross my heart.  

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Chicken Pot Pie with Cream Cheese and Chive Biscuits

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Hello Dream Boy,

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think I dreamt you up.  Biscuits and cream and veggies and chicken.  I must must must have dreamt you up, pulled you in the oven, and put you right in my life.

I’m going to keep you around Dream Boy.  I’ll get those fluffy feelings in my belly when I see you across the room.  I’ll smile at you often and forever.  I totally won’t stalk you on Facebook.  I’ll just be here, being super cool.  No biggie.  High five.

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chives

I want you to get in on this recipe.  I want you to think it’s a Dream Boy too.

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There are three things going on here.

1.  Cream Cheese, Chive and Black Pepper Biscuits

2.  Creamy Cream Sauce

3.  Rotisserie Chicken and Diced Veggies

I smashed them all together in a pot… then I totally fell in love.

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Cream cheese helps make the biscuits extra tender,  and utterly unstoppable.

I took the cream cheese left over from the biscuits and tossed it in the cream sauce.  I’m a thinker.  The cream sauce is rich, flavorful, and you’ll surely want to bathe with it.  Don’t… it’s probably too hot.

I am crazy lazy when it comes to cooking chicken… mostly because there is a thing called Rotisserie Chicken.  Already cooked!  Already super delicious!  Come on!  I stripped the meat off of a rotisserie chicken, measured up a generous three cups and swirled it into the rich cream sauce.  Hallelujah.

Note!  A touch of lemon juice and fresh ground nutmeg totally set this cream sauce apart from all the rest.  Brightness.  Nuttiness.  Depth.  Trust.

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Veggies are nice.  Flavor, sweetness, a bit of crunch.  They’re necessary.  Get into it.

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What are you thinking?

Did this just get bumped to the top of your weekend baking list?  Say yes.

Maybe Easter Brunch?  Maybe?  Totally possible.

Dinner for that hardworking husband?  Totally.  He’ll fall on the floor and want to marry you all over again.

Chicken Pot Pie with Cream Cheese and Chive Biscuits

adapted from cookingforengineers and kingarthurflour

Makes one 9×13-inch dish  with 12 biscuits

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For the Biscuits:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/2 to 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper (depending on how spicy you like your biscuits)

1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes

4 ounces (half of a brick) cream cheese, cold

3/4 cup buttermilk, cold

For the Filling:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 cups whole milk

4 ounces (half of a brick) cream cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

3 cups shredded chicken meat

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

1 small onion, diced

1 small garlic clove, minced

1 1/2 cup thinly diced carrots

1 cup diced zucchini (optional)

1 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

Start by making the biscuits.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, black pepper, and chopped chives.

Add butter and cream cheese to the dry ingredients.  Use your fingers to quickly incorporate the fat into the flour.  Break up the butter and cream cheese with your fingers until some of the fat is the size of oat flakes and some of the fat is the size of small pebbles.

Make a small well in the center of the fat and flour mixture.  Add the buttermilk.  Using a fork, combine the wet and dry ingredients.  Try to moisten all of the flour bits with the liquid.  Dump the shaggy biscuit dough onto a lightly floured work surface.  Knead together until dough forms a disk about 1 1/2 inches thick.

Use a round, 1 1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut biscuits.  Gather the dough scraps, knead for a few turns, and cut out more biscuits until no dough remains.  Place biscuits on a small cookie sheet and place in the fridge until ready to bake.

Next, make the filling.  Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Dice onion, garlic, carrots, zucchini, and thaw the frozen peas.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.  Whisk in the flour.  Mixture will be very thick.  Heat for 1 minute.  Turn flame to low and add the chicken stock.  Whisk until no flour bits remain.  Whisk in the milk and add the cream cheese.  Heat over medium low heat, stirring often, untilcream cheese has melted and the mixture is the consistency of warm, thick pudding.  Add chicken, lemon, and nutmeg.  Stir.  Add salt and pepper to taste.   Remove mixture from heat and set aside.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt butter (or olive oil, if using).  Add onions and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add minced garlic and saute for one minute more.  Add carrots, zucchini, and peas.  Cook for  about 3 minutes.  The vegetables will not be entirely cooked through.  That’s ok!  Remove from heat and add vegetable mixture to the creamy chicken mixture.  Stir to combine.

Spoon filling into a 9×13-inch pan.  Remove the biscuits from the fridge and place them on top of the filling.  Brush the tops of the biscuits with heavy cream, buttermilk, or egg wash.

Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until biscuits are puffed and golden, and the sides of the pot pie are bubbling.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

To reheat, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  Cover dish with foil and bake until warmed through, about 15 minutes.  Serve.

Chicken Pot Pie will last, well wrapped in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days.

Evelyn’s Chicken and Rice Casserole

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Here’s some things to avoid doing on Christmas morning.

Don’t haphazardly put the casserole your aunt made  in a bag.

Don’t drive that casserole across town.

Don’t carry that casserole into a home with tile floors.

Don’t accidentally drop the stupid bag with the broken handle on the tile floor.

If you do that… everything will break.

If you drop the casserole and break the dish  you’ll surely have to throw everything away… no one wants to eat glass.

If you throw every broken thing away, you’ll make your aunt cry.

Don’t make your aunt cry on Christmas.  That would be totally stupid.  Do Not Do That.

And if you do… make your aunt a new casserole.  Duh.

Sigh.

This is my Aunt Judy’s Mom’s old school casserole recipe

Old school casseroles have like… four ingredients in them…. with potato chips on top.   They’re delicious.  It’s weird.

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Rotisserie chicken and rice with creamy soup and a few veggies. It tastes like dinner.  Dinner tastes delicious.

This recipe makes two casseroles.  I think it’s classy to make one for yourself and take one to a friend.  I dunno…. maybe I’m weird.

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Incidentally, if you’re upset with me for all of the savory recipes… well… make yourself some Fruity Banana Bread.

I’m in charge here.

Evelyn’s Chicken and Rice Casserole

makes 2 8-inch casseroles

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2 cups cooked white rice

2 cups diced celery

1/4 cup diced onions

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 rotisserie chicken

1 15-ounce can cream of mushroom soup

1 1/2 cup mayonnaise

salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

3/4 cup slivered almonds

3/4 cup crushed potato chips

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Cook rice and place in a large bowl.

Saute celery and onions with 1 tablespoon of olive oil until onions are cooked and browned.  Place mixture in a large bowl with the rice.

Stip meat from rotisserie chicken and place in the bowl.  Add cream of mushroom soup, mayonnaise, a few pinches of salt and a few turns of fresh ground pepper.  Stir well to incorporate all of the ingredients.  Spoon mixture into two 8-inch baking dishes and top with slivered almonds and crushed potato chips.  Bake at 300 degrees F for 1 hour.

If you’d like, you can freeze an unbaked casserole in the casserole dish.  When ready to bake, let it thaw in the fridge overnight, top with almonds and crushed potato chips and bake.

Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie

double crust chicken pot pie 1

I have my routines.

I get my oil changed every three months.  I get my hair cut every eight weeks.  I feed my cat every day at 5pm.  I drag my butt to bed every night at midnight.  Routines.  Structure.  It all feels good… like strapping on a bra in the morning.  I know I’m good to go.  (Totally an analogy I should have kept to myself…)

Also in the catalog of sometimes mundane routines is this PIE.  Every three years I make this Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie.  Only every three years.

Every three years I over-indulge in this pie and wonder why I don’t make it a part of my more present/pressing/monthly routine…. then I remember all of the onion chopping and carrot slicing and roux making.  It’s a process. Worthy, still… but it remains my every three years pie for all of it’s butter cutting and onion chopping.  I feel like I savor it more with the years in between.

Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie

Can I just say, after slicing my way through most of an onion, I get to the butt end of the onion and I’m like… I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU! WHY ARE WE EVEN DOING THIS!? I begin to question everything.  It’s a really weird place to start a cooking endeavor, but it happens to me every time.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.  Clearly I was meant to work with pastry… not onions.

Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie

This pie is rich, creamy, full of Spring vegetables, and tender chicken.  The crust is buttery, flakey, and otherwise perfect.

Invite a friend.  Share the chopping duties.  There’s no reason to freak out about the onion alone.  This pie is worth every slice and dice!

Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie

Start off by mustering all of your love and tenderness.  This recipe has quite a few steps.  The end result is worth every chop, sauté, knead, stir, whisk, and roll… for sure.  But just to be sure, start by mustering all of your love and tenderness.  You can taste it.

I try to make everything in one large sauté pan.  I started by cooking the chicken breast in a bit of olive oil in the pan until cooked through.

In the same pan, having removed the chicken, I made a roux.  Butter is melted in a pan over medium heat.  Flour is added and whisked together is the butter.  It’s a thick and goupy process.  You’re totally doing it right.

Slowly stream in the chicken broth, whisking away.  The flour will ensure that the mixture is thick and luscious.  A little chicken stock at a time, followed by a little milk at a time.

Lastly, a bit of cream cheese and seasoning are added.

Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie

Once the roux is thick and creamy, I transfer it to a bowl.  Chicken is chopped, and vegetables are sautéed.

Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie

Once all of the vegetables are chopped, it’s more about layering flavors… that’s totally the fun part for me.

Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie

The vegetables aren’t cooked all the way through.  It’s ok if there’s a bit of a crunch.  Once the vegetables are combined with the chicken and sauce, they’re ready to fully cook inside the buttery crust.

Oh man… this is really getting good!

Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie

The crust tuck is everything.

It’s best to if your crust is still a bit chilled while assembling this pie.  That can prove challenging after all of the rolling, filling, and topping.  I’m learning that keeping a chilled pie crust is also near impossible in New Orleans.  Seriously.  Just do the best you can.  Return the pie crust to the refrigerator if you need to.

Let’s talk about the crust tuck.

The bottom and top crust are trimmed, leaving about 1-inch over crust overhand.  Holding the bottom and top crust together, fold the two under, tucking it into the glass pie plate.  This will seal in all of the pie good-times.

Crimp the edges with a finger, fork, or just leave it be.

Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie

Lightly brushed with egg for browning.  Beaten egg is like tanning lotion for pie. FOOL PROOF ANALOGY!

Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie

The pie is baked until the crust is golden brown and the insides bubble a bit.  Set a timer.  You don’t want to go on instinct after all the work of chopping, rolling, sautéing and crimping.

Warm from the oven.  May I suggest you eat this for three days straight.  Somehow on the fourth day you’ll miss it when it’s gone. The same can not be said for lentil soup… just saying.

Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie

makes 1 9-inch pie

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For the Crust:

2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

1/2 cup cold buttermilk

For the Filling:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups chicken broth

3/4  cup whole milk

2 ounces cream cheese

salt and pepper to taste

2 cups cubed chicken meat (I cooked two chicken breasts)

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

1 small onion, diced

1 small garlic clove, minced

1 cup thinly diced carrots

1 cup diced fresh green beans

3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed

To make the crust, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt.  Add cold, cubed butter and, using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture.  Quickly break the butter down into the flour mixture, some butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes, some will be the size of peas.  Create a well in the butter and flour mixture and pour in the cold buttermilk.  Use a fork to bring to dough together.  Try to moisten all of the flour bits.  On a lightly floured work surface, dump out the dough mixture.  It will be moist and shaggy.  That’s perfect.  Divide the dough in two and gently knead into two disks.  Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To make the filling, start by dicing the onion, garlic, carrots, green beans, and thawing the frozen peas.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.  Whisk in the flour.  Mixture will be very thick.  Heat for 1 minute.  Turn flame to low and slowly add the chicken stock.  Whisk until no flour bits remain.  Whisk in the milk and add the cream cheese.  Heat over medium low heat, stirring often, until cream cheese has melted and the mixture is the consistency of warm, thick pudding.  Add salt and pepper to taste.   Remove mixture from heat and spoon into a medium bowl.  Set aside.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt butter (or olive oil, if using).  Add onions and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add minced garlic and saute for one minute more.  Add carrots, green beans, and peas.  Cook for  about 5 minutes.  The vegetables will not be entirely cooked through.  That’s ok!  Remove from heat and stir in cooked, cubed chicken.   Stir the mixture to the sauce.  Stir to combine.  Set aside and allow the filling to cool slightly.

To assemble the pie, remove one of the pie dough disks from the fridge.  On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into about a 13-inch round.  Roll the dough a few strokes, then use your fingers to move the emerging circle around the floured surface.  This ensures that the dough isn’t sticking to the work surface.  The circle won’t be perfect, that’s ok.  Try not to get any tears in the rolled out dough, but if you do, they can be patched together with extra dough.    When you roll the dough and you can see it start springing back, that means that the butter is warming and the crust shouldn’t be rolled out anymore.  Gently lift the 13-inch round from the floured surface and center in a deep 9-inch round pie dish.  Place in the fridge while you roll out the top crust.

Roll out the top crust just as you did the bottom crust, moving the dough across the floured surface every once in a while, and creating a roughly 13-inch circle.

Spoon the filling into the bottom pie crust.

Carefully remove the top crust from the work surface and drape over the filling in the pie dish.  With a small knife, trim the crust, leaving about 1-inch overhang.  With your fingers press the top and bottom crusts together and fold under.  Use a fork or your fingers to crimp the edges of the dough.  Cut five small slits in the top of the crust so the steam can vent.  Brush lightly with beaten egg and place in the fridge to chill while the oven preheats.

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place pie in the oven bake for 10 minutes.  Reduce the oven heat to 375 and bake for 10 to 15 more minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 1 hours before serving.  Place covered in the fridge to store.  Pie lasts up to 3 or 4 days.