Chicken and Dumplings

closeup of chicken and dumplings
closeup of chicken and dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings

4 chicken breasts, or one chicken, or chicken breasts and thighs (if you like dark meat)
3 T. dried parsley
1 t. dried thyme
One onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook in a pressure cooker about 20 minutes, bake, or put in large stock pot, cover, and let gently simmer for several hours. Chicken should be very tender and fall off the bone. Remove chicken from bones, separate into bite-size pieces, and refrigerate or freeze until time to use. Strain broth through a fine sieve and discard vegetables. Refrigerate or freeze until time to use. When ready to use broth, remove solidified fat from the top.

To make dumplings:

3 cups flour
2/3 cup shortening
1 t. salt
3/4 cup water

Cut dry ingredients together in large bowl with pastry blender. Add water to make a soft dough. Roll out on floured board (1/4″ thick) and cut into 3″ squares with a pizza cutter or sharp knife. The dumplings may rest on the pastry board an hour or so, or be frozen until time to use. (To freeze, place in a single layer on a cookie sheet and cover with plastic wrap until frozen. Then, store in a ziploc bag until ready for use.)

When ready to make chicken and dumplings, bring 6 cups broth to a boil in a relatively large pot. Drop dumplings one at a time into boiling broth, stirring after each one. Allow to boil at least 10 minutes (20 minutes if using frozen dumplings). Cover and reduce heat. Add 2 T. butter, margarine, or powdered low-fat butter product such as Butter Buds. Pour in at least 1/2 cup canned evaporated milk (may use skim if desired) or use 1 cup regular milk. Simmer at least 10 more minutes. Add chicken and stir gently to mix; heat through on low heat. Turn off the heat and let them sit uncovered for 20 minutes or so for best consistency. Stir occasionally. Taste, add more salt or freshly ground pepper or parsley if desired.

The chicken and dumplings should have a creamy, buttery broth with plump, soft dumplings and pieces (not smithereens) of chicken throughout. If it looks more like a thin soup, it will benefit from a little simmering and sitting off the fire. I like to serve these with fresh English peas and homemade bread.

Chicken and Dumplings freeze beautifully. Reheat in the microwave and stir very gently to keep them from tearing up.

Simple Chicken and Dumplings (for those who do not like to cook. Not quite as good, but much easier:)

Substitute:
For broth: canned chicken broth, or chicken broth made with chicken bouillon granules or chicken base.
For chicken: one can (12.5 oz) canned chicken breasts
For dumplings: best quality flour tortillas you can find (about 6 should do it)

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