Not really ambrosial, the word that quite cuts it at describing thickened chicken and dumplings is comforting. In this article we will talk on how to thicken chicken and dumplings.
With origins stretching out through to the Great Depression, this delicacy has been tried, tested and refined.
Chicken and dumplings came into the limelight during and in the period shortly after the Great Depression, due to the hard economic times.
This meal comes in two parts, preparing the dumplings and chicken and thickening the chicken and dumplings. So dive right in!
How to Make Dumplings?
When it comes to dumplings, you can use tortillas, Pillsbury Buttermilk biscuits or just ordinary canned biscuits.
Below is the procedure to make homemade dumplings
- First wet your hands with water to avoid having the dumplings stick to your hands
- Add 3 teaspoons baking powder to 2 cups of all purpose wheat flour
- Add 3 tablespoonsful of oil then then stir into the mixture around ¾ cup of buttermilk
- Evenly mix the mixture then knead it like 6 times.
- You can add some more flour if you find your dough to be still sticky.
- You can then form it into a shape that’ll be easy to pinch off dumplings. The size of the dumplings is a matter of personal preference.
How to Make Chicken and Dumplings?
- Add chicken breasts to a pot of hot water.
- Add some salt and let the chicken breasts cook until they are nice and tender.
- Cut the chicken breasts into bite sized pieces once they cool.
- Back to your pot, ensure you have at least 4 cups of broth left
- Add half a stick unsalted butter, cream a quart, salt and any other spice of your choice
- Stir the mixture well
- Add the pieces of chicken back to the pot
- Let it cook while its covered for at least 20 minutes
- Add the dumplings to the pot while stirring
- Let the whole mixture cook for at least 5 minutes, while uncovered
Roux for Chicken and Dumplings
It begs to be said that, roux forms a crucial part in thickening sauce for chicken and dumplings.
For starters, the purpose of roux is to thicken sauces. It is made by cooking fat and flour together in equal parts.
- To prepare roux you will need vegetable oil or cooking fat and all purpose flour. The ingredients should be in equal parts i.e. for 2 cups all-purpose flour, you’ll require 2 cups vegetable oil
- Heat oil in fairly sized saucepan at high heat
- Add the flour to the already heated up oil gradually while stirring, until you achieve an even paste
- Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until the mixture turns dark brown
In this guide, the roux being made was of the dark variety. Essentially, there are three varieties of roux.
White, Brown and Blonde
The variance however does not mean a change in ingredients for each type of roux. Rather, what causes the difference in the various types of roux is the cooking time. It’s also a matter of personal preference as to how you would your roux to turn out.
So how does it all come together?
Once your roux is ready, do this steps:
- Put your roux in a fairly sized pot.
- Add the onion to the roux inside the pot. You’ll need just one small onion.
- Let the onion cook until it’s brown.
- Add chicken to the pot. In this case, the chicken should have been pre-cooked until it’s brown
- Add water to that will cover the chicken by at least 2 inches.
- Once the water starts to boil reduce the heat to simmer, then add onion tops, parsley and any other spices you may wish to go with your chicken.
There you have it, roux for chicken and dumplings.
You may need to tweak the procedure a bit to suit your needs, like for instance, if the soup is too thin you can let it cook longer and if it is too thick, you can add water.
Chicken and Dumplings Thick Gravy
It goes without saying, roux is essential if you intend to get thick gravy like sauce for your chicken and dumplings. However, it doesn’t really quite cut it in all cases.
Even after preparing your chicken and dumpling with roux, it might not thicken enough as you wanted it to.
In this case you’ll need cornstarch and flour to thicken your sauce or soup.
When making chicken and dumplings thick gravy it is assumed you’ve already prepared the chicken and dumplings
- Scoop out all the solid bits from the broth. Chicken pieces and dumplings. You might want to consider using a slotted spoon to scoop only solids and leave the broth in the pot
- Add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to a mixing bowl with enough cold water
- Stir to form an even thin paste
- Take 2 cups of broth from the pot and add to the mixing bowl while continuously stirring until the cornstarch is dissolved
- Add the thickening mixture in the mixing bowl to the pot while stirring
- Turn the cooker to medium high-heat, while stirring. Let the broth boil
- Reduce the heat
- Add back the dumplings chicken pieces and let them simmer
If you feel the broth is not yet thick enough, you can go back to preparing another thickening mixture.
A word of caution though, don’t go on adding another thickening mixture just because you feel the broth is not yet thick enough.
The broth will thicken more as it cools.
Chicken and dumplings is more than just historical relic (meal). It just oozes yumminess and everything luscious. It is easy to prepare, it is a treat and above all, it is the ultimate comfort food.
So next time you feel low, maybe it’s winter, this food will certainly warm your spirits. And do please try it out, just for the sake of trying. You will not regret.