Sunday, December 8, 2013

Better than Cracker Barrel Chicken and Dumplings

So this weekend we were trapped within the confines of our apartment with nowhere to go because of the icy road conditions.  The 27 degree temperature mixed with rain and sleet caused a school closing on Friday.  I was unaware that I would be stuck at home for the entire weekend due to unfavorable and unsafe road conditions.  In addition to that, I would have to tend to a sick husband.  I attempted to swing by the grocery store late Friday morning but the entire meat section was almost obsolete.  I picked up a few items to get me through the long weekend which included: Nyquil, red nail polish for the holiday season, a bag of chips, a gallon of Blue Bell ice cream, and some staples for baking.  With the freezing temperatures outside, I wanted to cook something hot like chili or pho.  Although I would have loved to spend my entire morning prepping and cooking pho, I did not have the necessary ingredients.  Then it dawned on me:  Chicken and dumplings.  I had made this before a few years ago using a Paula Dean recipe but it failed to evoke a feeling of home style cooking.  Although my friends enjoyed it and raved about it, I knew I could do better.  So then it brings me to this amazing recipe I attempted on a cold winter's snow day.  If you are the type to follow a recipe to the T and need exact amounts, please be forewarned that this recipe calls for a cook that can season to taste and adjust based on personal preference.


5 carrots peeled and chopped
4 stalks of celery chopped 
2 onions chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 tablespoons of fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons of dried thyme
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 pounds of bone in chicken - I like to use breasts but it is up to you
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 bay leaves
1/2 stick of butter

For the dumplings:
2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
3/4 cup of buttermilk
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley leaves
3/4 cup of butter melted
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda


  1. Heat a large pot over medium high heat and add oil.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper both sides.  Brown the chicken for 4-6 min each side.  (you will not cook through b/c you will add it to the stock)  Set chicken aside on a plate
  2. Add the garlic, carrots, celery, onions, thyme to the pot with drippings.  Stir for about 7 minutes until the veggies are soft.  
  3. Add chicken, bay leaves and 10 cups of water.  Bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes.  Discard the bay leaves and take the chicken out.  Shred the chicken off the bone and return the chicken to the pot, discarding the bones.  
  4. Whisk together 1/2 cup of the flour, 2 cups of your broth, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a small bowl.  Slowly add it to the pot and stir.  This will make the soup a little thicker.  Continue simmering.  At this point, you should add salt to taste.  I probably ended up adding about an additional tablespoon of salt.  Be careful as you don't want to over salt!  I like mine really thick so if you aren't satisfied with the consistency of the soup, read the next step.  Otherwise, skip it and continue to making the dumplings.
    • For thicker soup:  Melt 1/2 stick of butter in the microwave in a small bowl.  Stir in enough flour until it gets to a peanut butter consistency to make a roux.  Add to the soup and stir for about 5 min to thicken.  BEWARE:  slowly add the butter/flour mixture a bit at a time and wait.  It takes a while to thicken so you don't want to over thicken your soup.  Repeat for even thicker soup. If you end up with too thick of a soup, you can always add water and salt to even it out.  
  5. Make the dumplings.  Whisk together 2 cups of flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a medium bowl.  Whisk in the melted butter, buttermilk, and parsley.  
  6. Reduce the heat to low and drop large spoonfuls of dumpling dough into broth. Try not to drop them in the same area or let some cook a little first before dropping more in.  You don't want them to stick together.  Cover the pot and let the dumplings cook for an additional 10 minutes so they firm up.  
I hope you enjoy this recipe!  It will definitely be a hit! 


  1. I was wondering when I'd get another blog post from you! I love chicken and dumplings. It's one of my dad's favorite recipes to make when I come home to visit. I think I'll have to compare my recipe with yours and see if I can make some adjustments...always love to make a good recipe even better!

  2. Hey kim! Yes, it has been a while. My laptop has been out of commission for some time now. But I will be posting more. Work has been super busy too! I hope you are doing well and I am so happy for you and the hubby. Definitely love this recipe. Have you tried the etouffee yet?