This is a dish that is heartwarming for your soul and your stomach. It’s also a classic Great Depression recipe that got my folks through the Dust Bowl. It’s the definition of comfort food!
Traditional Southern Chicken and Dumplings
Chicken and dumplings is an ol’ comfort recipe that goes way back during the Depression. Folks would go down to the chicken house and make this homemade dish, and it got them through a lot of tough times.
It’s a recipe that when you sit down with family, it’s something special.
Boil the Chicken in Hot Water
I start with 4 chicken breasts and add them to some hot water in a large pot. Add a little salt and boil them until they are good and tender (about 25 minutes). When you take a fork and they are pull apart tender they are ready to go. After they have cooled off a bit cut them into bite-sized pieces. Now my “bit-sized” tend to be a bit bigger because I want to get a good chunk of chicken in every bite.
Return to your stockpot and make sure there are 6 cups of the chicken broth left in there. To that add half a stick of unsalted butter, a quart of cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir that all up well and then add the chicken pieces back in. Cover the pot and let it cook for about 20 to 25 minutes. We’re going to thicken it just a tad after it gets to going and you’ll want to stir it every so often as well. But while that’s a-cookin’ it’s time to put together the dumplings.
Make the Dough for Dumplings
There are all kinds of things that you could use for dumplings. I’ve used canned biscuits, tortillas, even Pillsbury pie crust. But today we’re going to make the homemade kind, which is my favorite.
Start with two cups of all-purpose flour. To that we’re going to add 3 teaspoons of baking powder, ’cause I want to give these fellers a little jump. Then add 3 tablespoons of oil. So, now we’re going to stir in about 3/4 cup of buttermilk.
Mix that well until most of it has absorbed and then we’re going to get our hands in it.
I like to combine it with my hands and the consistency is going to be more like a pie crust rather than a biscuit dough. It will be a little tougher and not as moist as a biscuit dough, but it’s gonna make really good dumplings.
Form the dough into a ball and then I like to knead it over just about 4 or 5 times. You don’t want it too sticky so add a tad more flour if needed. I like to form it in to a loaf shape that way it’s easier for me to pinch it off into dumplings.
Mama used to say pinch off about a tablespoon-size at a time, but I like mine about golfball-sized, but it’s whatever size you prefer.
Add the Dumplings to the Boiling Chicken
When you have all your dumplings pinched off we’ll add them back into the soup.
I like to put about a half of them in there and then give it a stir. Finish putting the rest in the soup and let them cook (uncovered), about 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. They are going to puff up and cook through just slightly. I like a dumpling that is still a little doughy in the middle.
Use Cornstarch to Thicken Chicken and Dumplings
To give that a little thicker texture we’re going to add 1 cup of cool water to 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and stir it up well. Make sure the soup is brought back to a good boil and go ahead and stir in the cornstarch mixture. Stir it until it thickens up just a bit about 3 minutes.
Well, folks, it is a done deal, and I know my mother and my grandma would be proud of this ol’ traditional Southern dish., This is one of those flavorful meals that will stay with you all day long. Y’all enjoy and we’ll see you in the next recipe!
Watch Us Make This Traditional Recipe in Camp!
Old Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings - Cowboy Kent Rollins
- 4 7 oz boneless chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ stick butter softened
- 1 quart heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 tablespoons oil
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup cold water
- In a pot add enough water to generously cover the chicken breasts. Add the salt. Bring to a boil bring to a boil and cook until chicken is tender, about 25 minutes.
- Remove chicken and allow to cool enough to handle. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Return the chicken to the pot and reserve 6 cups of the boiled chicken stock (water). Add the butter and the cream to the broth. Cook over medium heat cook, stirring occasionally, for a couple of minutes. Stir in the chicken. Cook over for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl add the flour and baking powder, stir well Add the oil and buttermilk and begin stirring until it forms a soft dough (like the consistency of pie dough). Knead over about 4 - 5 times. Pinch off into balls (any size you prefer) and drop into the broth.
- Let the dumplings cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Dissolve the cornstarch in the cold water and stir into the broth. Continue stirring the soup until it thickens slightly, about 3-5 minutes. Season, to taste. Serve warm.