We have a tradition in our family that on a birthday, you can ask for anything you want for dinner. For Sarah, the answer is almost always the same–Chicken and Dumplings. These are the old fashioned dumplings that my father used to make, spooned on top of the bubbling chicken and sauce to cook up and absorb flavor.
Note: The basic dough for the dumplings is taken from Christopher Kimball’s Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook.
3/4 to 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
1 T. olive oil (or butter if you don’t have olive oil)
2 T. sweet butter
1/2 small onion
4 T. flour
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup frozen peas (4 ounces or 115 grams)
green beans (optional), as many as you want cut into 1 inch long pieces and tips discarded
1 t . either dried tarragon or dried thyme
1 cup flour
½ t. salt
½ t. baking soda
1 egg (beaten and divided in half)
2 T. melted butter
1/3 cup of milk
1 t. lemon juice
Note: the milk and lemon juice can be replaced with a generous ⅓ cup of buttermilk if you have that on hand.
1. Heat a fry pan over medium-low heat and add the 1 T of olive oil. Place the chicken in a fry pan and cook over medium-low heat covered (with foil if you lack a cover) turning once until breast is just cooked through (about 8-10 minutes)
2. While chicken is cooking, finely chop the half onion.
3. Remove chicken from pan and set aside covered with foil.
4. Prepare the dry ingredients for the dumplings. In a medium to large bowl combine the 1 cup of flour, the ½ t. salt, and ½ t. baking soda. In a small bowl or cup beat the egg and divide roughly in half (save the other half to use for something else). Melt the 2 T. of butter in a small pan or microwave. Set aside.
4. In a pan or pot that is at least 4″ deep, melt the 2 T. butter over medium-low heat and add the chopped onion. Cook just until the onion is translucent. Add the 4 T. of flour and mix until the butter and the flour are thoroughly combined.
5. Add the chicken stock and raise the heat to medium-high bringing the mixture to a low boil, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Reduce heat back to medium-low and allow to simmer for 5 minutes to finish cooking the flour.
6. While base is simmering, cut the chicken into bite size pieces.
7. Also, while the sauce is simmering, mix the dumplings: add the 1/2 egg, 2 T. melted butter, ⅓ cup milk and 1 t. lemon juice to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir to combine with a large spoon.
7. Add the chicken, peas, green beans (if using) and the tarragon or thyme to the pot and mix throughly to combine. Taste for salt and pepper.
8. Using your large spoon, scoop very large egg-sized portion of the dumplings onto the top of the sauce (they may sink a little). Cover and lower heat to gentle simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes until dumplings are cooked through but still tender.
9. Serve and enjoy.
Makes approximately 3 servings.