Indulge in a warm bowl of grandma's chicken and dumplings. This nostalgic dish has a creamy, flavorful chicken base filled with drop dumplings that have a soft, biscuit texture.
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What Kind Of Dumplings Are These?
There's about a billion and three ways to make chicken and dumplings. Sometimes the dumplings are rolled out flat and cut into squares before cooking, resulting in a more chewy dumpling. Sometimes the dough is rolled into loose balls or dropped by spoonful into the boiling broth, resulting in puffy dumplings with a soft biscuit texture on the inside. The latter method has always been my go-to method. That warm biscuit texture on the inside... that's the stuff comfort food is made of, right there.
You'll also find variations in the broth itself. Sometimes it's very thin and soupy. Sometimes it's thick and creamy like biscuit gravy. I prefer somewhere in between.
What Are Some Key Ingredients I'll Need?
For the soup base:
- Butter, milk, and all-purpose flour - Instead of using canned soup, I start with a basic roux to add thickness to the soup. You can use any kind of milk (full fat will be the most rich), dairy or non-dairy. You can use salted or unsalted butter.
- Chicken Broth - Expands the liquid and adds flavor. I use low-sodium varieties to have better control of the salt in the dish.
- Cooked Chicken - You'll need 2-3 cups of cooked, shredded chicken. You can use leftover chicken from another recipe or shred it off of those handy dandy hot rotisserie chickens sold in most grocery stores nowadays. Using all dark meat (thighs, legs) will contribute more flavor and will be more tender, but you can use all breast meat or a mixture of breast and dark meat.
- Onion - Because any dish can benefit from some nice sautéed minced onion, right? I use yellow onions for their robust flavor when cooked.
For the drop dumplings:
- Buttermilk - Just like biscuits - the cousin to the dumpling - the tangy creaminess of buttermilk can't be beat.
- Butter. Cold Butter. Even though these dumplings are boiled and not baked, adding a solid fat will have a reaction similar to using cold butter in pastries - it will melt in the boiling water and create steam pockets inside, creating the lovely fluffy texture on the inside of the dumplings.
- Baking Soda - Just a bit to create the chemical reaction with the buttermilk to help the dumplings cook up puffy and fluffy.
- Flour and salt - Stick with all-purpose flour and a bit of salt as a flavor enhancer.
Does This Dish Reheat Well?
Surprisingly, yes! And I don't do anything special, either. My recipe for grandma's chicken and dumplings reheat just fine in the microwave and the dumplings retain their fluffy texture on the inside. The dumplings may drink up some of the liquid when sitting in the fridge, so if you find that you don't have as much broth, drizzle in a little extra chicken broth before heating.
My recipe for the grandma's chicken and dumplings soup base has gone through a few revisions over the years, but the method for making the actual dumplings has remained the same since my mom used to make these for me as a kid. The completed dish I'm sharing today is the results of many iterations of trial and error and, in my opinion, it's just about perfect.Print
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