My son was all worked up about going to friend's house after school tonight because they were going to have "dumplings" for dinner. Destructo is borderline obsessed with Chinese dumplings (potstickers), but I'm pretty sure his friend's mother (who is a fabulous cook from Ghana) was talking about the the flour-y, fluffy dumplings that one finds in a chicken stew. So, anyway, long story short: I told him I'd make dumplings for dinner tonight to make up for him not being able to go to their house. And, though I've never made them before, I have to say it turned out pretty awesome and I will definitely be making them again. I just modified my usual Chicken Pot Pie recipe (which I'll tell you how to revert back to afterward) a little bit and voilá!
5 tbsp butter, divided
1 1/4 cups chopped onion
1 1/4 cups chopped carrots
1 1/4 cups chopped celery
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 lb. chicken, either leftovers that are coarsley chopped, or raw boneless, skinless breasts, cut into chunks
4 cups chicken stock (or more, if you like it soupier)
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup half & half
salt & pepper, to taste
2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
4 Tbsp oil
1. Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a dutch oven or large saucepan (with lid) and cook onions, carrots, and celery over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf and cook a few minutes longer until vegetables are just tender.
2. Add chicken and cook a few minutes until it turns white, but isn't cooked all the way through.
3. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
4. After you add the chicken, make the dumpling batter by combining the flour, baking powder, salt, milk, and oil in a large bowl, stirring with a spoon or fork. The batter will be very thick.
5. Using two spoons (or a spoon & spatula), scrape the batter in about 2 tbsp. size dollops into the simmering chicken broth mixture. Return to simmer and cover. Cook dumplings for 15-20 minutes.
6. Make a roux, in a small saucepan, by melting 4 Tbsp butter over low heat and then stirring in 1/2 cup of flour. Continue stirring for 3-5 minutes while the flour cooks. The mixture will turn a light blond color. Remove from heat and set mixture aside.
7. When the dumplings are done, remove to a separate bowl or divide among plates for serving.
8. Add the roux to the chicken broth mixture, along with the cream. Stir and return to simmer, allowing to simmer for a few more minutes.
9. Salt and pepper to taste. (I add at least a tsp of salt.)
Serve stew over dumplings.
If you prefer pot pie to dumplings:
Reduce the amount of broth to 3 cups.
Omit all dumpling-related steps.
Put stew in a 9x13" pan or individual oven-safe bowls and top with ready-made puff pastry rolled out to the shape of the pan you are using. Follow directions for cooking on the puff pastry package. Or, roll out a ready-made pie crust dough, line a pie dish, add stew, cover with another pie crust, cut slits in it, and then bake at 375 for about 40 minutes.
You just can't lose. This is the best chicken pot pie base recipe I've ever had. I hope you enjoy it, too!