Classic Chicken and Dumplings

by Emily Kemme
Classic Chicken and Dumplings

It’s not often that I happen upon a recipe I dream about, one so very nearly perfect that no tweaks are needed. But Bon Appétit’s recipe for Best Chicken and Dumplings fits that description. Although it calls for “schmaltz”, a slow rendering of chicken fat, for those of us without that time luxury, I discovered butter creates a pillow soft mouthful of dumpling. Paired with stewed chicken and enveloped in a lavishly creamy sauce, this is my ideal go-to for comfort food.

Classic Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

For Chicken and Soup

4 chicken legs

4 chicken thighs

1 leek, trimmed, white and light green parts only, well rinsed

4 carrots, 1 whole, 3 sliced into 1/2 inch discs

4 celery stalks, 1 whole, 3 sliced into 1/2 inch pieces

1 medium onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, skins removed, smashed

4 sprigs thyme

parsley stems from 1/2 bunch, washed and dried

1 bay leaf

2 tsp black peppercorns


For Dumplings

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup plus 2 T buttermilk

1/2 cup heavy cream

parsley leaves for garnish

To make chicken soup base

Place chicken, whole carrot, whole celery stalk, half of chopped onion, garlic, thyme, parsley stems, bay leaf and peppercorns in large pot. Cover with 3 quarts water. Bring to low boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook uncovered until chicken is cooked through, about 40-50 minutes. Remove chicken to a bowl and let rest until cool enough to handle. Shred meat, discarding skin, bones and cartilage. Cover with foil to keep warm.

Strain stock through fine-mesh sieve twice, discarding solids each time. Wipe out pot and pour strained stock back in. Bring to simmer. Add salt to taste.

In large skillet, heat 1/4 cup butter over medium heat. Cook chopped carrot, celery and remaining onion, stirring until vegetables are softened but not browned, about 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup flour and stir to coat vegetables for 1 minute.

Add vegetable mixture to simmering stock and whisk until thickened and smooth. Cook over low simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes.

To make dumplings

While chicken is simmering, whisk baking powder, baking soda, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and 1 cup flour in medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk and 3 T melted butter in a small bowl. Gently fold buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients until dough comes together. Don’t over mix.

Pull it all together

Add cream to chicken stew and bring back to simmer. Using a tablespoon, drop spoonfuls of dough into stew. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook 10 minutes. Remove lid to check dumplings; they should cover the surface of the stew and have an internal consistency that is soft and flaky.

Ladle stew and dumplings into low, shallow bowls. Garnish with parsley leaves.

Serves 4 – 6.

Adapted from Bon Appétit February 2017

Classic Chicken and Dumplings

Paired with stewed chicken and enveloped in a lavishly creamy sauce, butter creates a pillow soft mouthful of dumpling. This is my ideal go-to for comfort food.

Dawn's Dream Nugget ChardonnayFeeding the Famished’s wine guru, Stephanie Davis, made a wine recommendation based more on emotions than flavors, she said. Steph said she can’t drink enough Chardonnay right now, but since she can’t figure out a legitimate explanation for it, she made one up. She thought maybe it’s the color of all the golden aspen leaves in her yard at the moment, or possibly the glow of the fireplace. Whatever the reason may be, she knows she’ll be a happy person at the end of the day if she has a bowl of this comforting soup and a generous pour of Dawn’s Dream “Nugget” Chardonnay from the Arroyo Seco AVA in Monterey County, California. It is layered with richness, vibrant acid and warm fuzzies.

What changes inside you or around you are you feeling this Fall/Autumn season? Maybe there’s a wine for that, too.

2016 Dawn’s Dream “Nugget” Chardonnay ($25)

Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, illuminating the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished,, or on Twitter @EmFeedsYou . Life inspired. Vodka tempered.

Interested in reading Emily’s new award-winning novel, Drinking the Knock Water: A New Age Pilgrimage? Find it on Amazon and in Indie bookstores.

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