I’ve never really thought about the origins of chicken and dumplings — they’ve just been a staple on our table since I was a little girl. Chunks of chicken and vegetables in a savory broth with big, fluffy dumplings floating on top. Heaven! The dumplings of my youth came together in about 30 seconds, thanks to a package of Bisquick or Jiffy baking mix. These Chicken n’ Cornmeal-Chive Dumplings take a few seconds longer.
I was surprised to find that Scott had never had chicken and dumplings until he met me. And he had no idea why I was putting a biscuit on top of the soup. I guess it’s a Southern thing. But it made me curious because I thought everybody ate this. Where do chicken and dumplings come from? There is substantial debate over its origins and frankly, so many iterations of this dish, that I don’t think there’s a pat answer about their evolution.
The one that makes the most sense to me is the dish, with those fluffy biscuit-style dumplings, originated in the South, possibly during the Great Depression. Adding the dumplings was a way to stretch the chicken to make the meal go farther.
There are other “rolled” dumplings, which look suspiciously noodle-like to me and I’m told are very popular in the North. I’m sure they’re good too, but I’m partial to this variety.
Of course the key to a tender dumpling, is to bring your pot of stew to a bubbling simmer, then drop the dumpling dough into the broth by rounded tablespoons before covering it tightly with the lid and letting the dough steam and puff. Don’t sneak a peak to see how they’re doing, otherwise the dumplings will be tough (at least that’s what my Mom told me). When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing so hearty and satisfying as big pot of this savory stew.
More stews you might like:
- Brunswick Stew
- Beef Stew with Red Wine
- Irish Stout Lamb Stew
- Chicken Stew with Fall Vegetables
- Braised Pork Stew
- Oyster Stew
Chicken ‘n Cornmeal Chive Dumplings
- 1 4 pound chicken
- 3 stalks celery diced
- 1 medium onion diced
- 3 carrots peeled and diced
- 4 cups chicken broth homemade or low sodium store bought
- 2 cups water
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 8 ounces mushrooms quartered
- 1 cup peas frozen
for the dumplings
- 1 cup self rising flour or 1 cup all purpose flour +2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ cup cornmeal
- 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
- ½ cup half and half
- ¼ cup milk
- Rinse the chicken and place in a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot. Add the celery, onion and carrots. Cover with chicken broth and water, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pot and let cool for 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile in a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat and add the mushrooms. Cook until browned and tender and set aside.
- With clean hands, pick the meat off of the chicken, discarding the skin and bones. Transfer the chicken back to the pot and stir in the mushrooms. Place the pot back on the stove and hold it covered at a low simmer.
For the dumplings
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar and chives. Whisk to combine. Stir in the milk and half and half to form a dough.
- Drop the dumplings by tablespoonfuls onto the simmering liquid, cover (don’t peek) and cook for 15 minutes. Use a spoon to open up a space between the dumplings and pour the peas into the opening. Gently stir the peas into the broth and serve.
Don’t Forget To “Pin It” For Later!
Do you have a gluten free cornmeal dumpling recipe?
Lisa Lotts says
You should be able to swap a gluten free flour blend for the AP flour.
The wait 15 minutes rule applies to matzo balls, too! We made a whole chicken last night, so I broke it down and made a broth. Using your recipe as a guide I made dumplings with the ingredients we had on hand. Instead of half and half I Used one egg and a cap of vegetable oil. They look good so far.. adding chicken now. Will let you know.
Fantastic! Good to know about the matzo balls — I’ve never made them myself (had plenty of them, though).
The Fashion Diva says
Wow not only does that look so yummy but you went into great detail with the order and photos you provide! Thank you 🙂
Hope you find them helpful!
Brianne @Natural Girl Modern World says
I always wondered how to make these – your recipe makes it look so easy! Thanks for sharing. Love your photos:D
It is easy – and very good!
Jessica @ Citrus Blossom Bliss says
This bowl of deliciousness makes me sad I’m a northerner. I’ve never had chicken and dumplings but I definitely think that’s going to change soon. This looks so hearty and beautiful and like everything I’ve ever wanted in my life.
We won’t hold your Northern status against you, but you should make this a priority!
The Purple Ladle says
I have never made dumplings before – great photos showing process!
Dumplings are transformative, you must give it a go!
It’s funny, I have never made a cornmeal dumpling before but was thinking about it today and I come to your blog and there it is. Now I’ll have to try it. I ended up making a shepherd’s pie with cornbread topping.
Ooh! That sounds good too. I love cornbread!
Sam | Ahead of Thyme says
I need some cornmeal dumplings right now!! This looks delicious! Thanks for the recipe 🙂
I’m glad you like it, Sam!
Plating Pixels says
Those corneal dumplings look awesome and have never seen anything like it. Love the photos too!
Sara | LifesLittleSweets.com says
This looks amazing, I have never tried making chicken and dumplings, it looks perfect for a cold winter night! Pinning!
Thanks, Sara! It’s ideal for cold, but I’d eat it when it’s hot, too!
KC the Kitchen Chopper says
I love chicken soup. The dumplings would be a delish addtion. I like the fact that the chicken cooks along with the soup. The whole combo is so “comfort foodie”. YUM!
Thanks for saying so!
Gorgeous photos! Such a great recipe – I’m totally drooling! Love that you added mushrooms too! 🙂
Glad you like it!
I can’t believe I have never made chicken and dumplings! This has inspired me though!
I really thought EVERYONE ate this!
I have never had Chicken & Dumplings either. This looks great though. I”ll have to try it!
are you serious? OMG – come over and I’ll make some for you and James!
Beth Berger says
Oh my goodness those dumplings look AMAZING! I usually just pick up a box kit for kneidels (matzo balls) to throw into my homemade chicken soup but I’m gonna have to give these a go. 🙂
Beth – they are ridiculously simple to make and so freakin’ good!