Like most families, activity schedules can really take a toll on the quality of our dinner. After a few nights of bad frozen meals, I am left thinking one thing:
Last night I made Chicken and Dumplings, so yummy!
My favorite cookbook for Crock Pot meals is Williams-Sonoma’s:
It teaches you so much about braising and food basics, I highly recommend it. And you can usually cook it in a crock pot or dutch oven, so it gives you some flexibility. For this recipe, you use both, starting with the slow cooker and finishing in a pot (it is faster to cook the dumplings in the pot but you can also finish it in the slow cooker).
You start by placing 3-4 lbs. chicken in the crock pot with celery, carrots, onion, and bay leaf. You fill with water to cover by 1 inch, then hit high heat for 3-4 hours. I so appreciated the quick start prep – it took all of five minutes – and dinner was on its way.
On the back end, there is 25-30 of prep, which worked out for me since the kids had down time. (For crock pot meals with prep at the start and a meal ready when you come in the door, stay tuned for Lamb Curry and Crock Pot Ribs).
You strain the broth into a pot and simmer to reduce for 10 min, while you prep the dumplings then shred the chicken. Then you toss chicken, veggies, and dumplings in, put on a lid, and cook for 15 min.
This meal was super satisfying and the gravy was SO delicious! (My daughter asked me for a straw to drink it, no joke). The chicken and veggies were cooked perfectly and the dumplings soaked up all the gravy and had a great tender texture.
Chicken and Dumplings: (print recipe here.)
- 1 chicken (3 to 4 pound)
- 2 carrots (cut into 1 inch pieces)
- 1 yellow onion (quartered)
- 2 celery ribs (cut into 2 inch pieces)
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 tbsps unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tsps baking powder
- 2 T. chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tbsps unsalted butter (cut into small pieces and chilled)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 egg
1 Trim chicken of excess skin and fat.
2 Place chicken in a slow cooker. Pour in cold water to cover by 1 inch and add carrots, onion, celery, and bay leaf. Cover and cook 3-4 hours on high or 6-7 hours on low, or until chicken is falling off the bones.
3 Remove chicken from the slow cooker and set aside to cool. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat and shred into large pieces.
4 Strain broth into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-high, and cook until reduced to 6 cups, about 10 minutes.
5 In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Pour in the reduced broth, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Cook, whisking constantly, until smooth and thickened, 8-10 minutes. Add chicken and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to slow cooker and set temperature to high.
6 For Dumplings: In a bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, parsley and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add butter and work into the dry ingredients with fingers or pastry cutter until the texture of small peas. Gently stir in the milk and egg to form a sticky batter. Drop heaping spoonfuls of dough into simmering sauce and chicken, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until dumplings are fluffy, about 30 minutes.
7 You may also cook in a large Dutch oven. Cook chicken 2 hours; follow other directions but cook only 15 minutes after adding dumplings.