Comfort Food - Old Fashioned Chicken & Dumplings - Easy & Budget Friendly

A Stroll Thru Life
I haven't made Chicken & Dumplings in such a long time, then the other day I was watching the Pioneer Woman on Foodnetwork and that was what she made.  Her recipe is almost identical to how I have always made it.  It looked so good and I knew I had everything in the pantry, so I got out my pans, cutting board and got busy.  This is such a great comfort food meal and so budget friendly too.  You can feed a huge crowd with this dish for pennies per serving, it easily serves 8 or 6 if really hungry.

(Since I rarely ever measure anything, - I am one of those that does a "pinch" and "dump some" kind of cook.  So I am sharing the Pioneer Woman's recipe since she measures and give you the right scoop.)

Most recipes call for a whole cut up chicken with the skin left on.  I didn't have that in the freezer, but I did have 4 chicken thighs with skin and bone and 2 huge breasts.  Good enough.  You just want to make sure it has the skin, so you get all that good flavor in your broth.  (You will discard the skin and bone later)

With the chicken thawed, I put butter and oil in my pan to melt, then I dredged my chicken pieces in flour, salt and pepper and browned them in batches.  Get a good browning on the pieces if you can.  Some of mine could have been browned a little more.  You aren't trying to cook them through, just brown them.

While they were browning, I cut up 3 carrots ( don't peel ), 3 celery stalks and one large onion.

I got out a large carton of chicken broth and some thyme.  That's all I need for now.

Once all the chicken is browned, remove to a plate and then add the chopped veggies right into the same pan.  Saute these on medium heat for a few minutes to soften.  Then add the full carton of chicken broth and 1/4 tsp thyme.  I also added 1 cup of water and a tiny dash of red wine vinegar to cut some of the fat.  (Be sure not to add more than just a really tiny dash.)  The Pioneer Woman's recipe calls for 1/2 c. apple cider.  I didn't have any, but the vinegar will do the same, just really only use a dash.  Stir it all together.

Next add the chicken back into the pot.  Now I hadn't made this in a while and forgot how big a pot I needed, so I had to transfer everything to a larger pot.  This is just way too full don't you think?

Ok, my favorite really huge pot - Revere Ware.  Anybody remember them or use them anymore.  I've had this since I first got married.  It has cooked a gazillion meals and made gallons of hot chocolate.
Now just simmer this whole mixture for about 20 to 30 minutes until chicken is done.

When chicken is done, remove to a clean plate to cool so you can shred it.  Remove and discard the skin and bones.

Add the shredded chicken back to the pot.

At this pointt you can put the dish on hold if you need to.  This is a great place to stop and put the pot in the fridge and finish up really fast after Church or after work.

To finish up, heat up the mixture to a low simmer.  Mix up the dumpling batter - Now I have to confess that while I like most everything that the Pioneer woman does, I was not a fan of her dumplings.  She added some cornmeal to her batter and so I gave it a try.  I prefer to just use all flour, but you can try which ever one you like.  ( I left it in the recipe below, so use it or just add more flour)

Drop by rounded spoonfull into the simmering liquid.  Do not submerge, just drop them on top and let them sit.  Half cover the pot and cook for 15 to 18 minutes.  Turn heat off and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Spoon into large bowls and enjoy.  This is rib sticking goodness for sure.

Chicken & Dumplings

2 Tblsp. Butter  - 2 Tblsp. Olive Oil
1/2 c. flour - salt and pepper
whole chicken cut up
3 diced carrots
3 diced celery stalks
1 med. onion diced
1/4 tsp thyme
6 c. low sodium chicken broth
1/2 c apple cider or small dash red wine vinegar
1/2 c heavy cream ( can substitute milk )

1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c yellow cornmeal (optional - I like to use all flour)
1 heaping tblsp. baking powder
Add just enough half and half to make a dough

Salt and pepper to taste

What's your favorite comfort food?

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