I want to start off by saying, my chicken & dumplings are different. They are GOOD different…trust me? You should! At least when it comes to food!
My mom never made chicken & dumplings because she didn’t like them, so I thought I didn’t like them either. In my few, past experiences the dish featured super gummy noodle type things & small buts of chicken in a brown broth. Seriously, like whats all the hoopla about? Those gummy blobs are gross y’all.
I get why my momma didn’t like it!
When my husband & I we’re dating, I ate dinner at his parent’s house A LOT. She was going to make chicken & dumplings one of these particular nights & my husband was just beside himself with excitement. I was extremely skeptical, as I mentioned my unimpressive past experiences.
I was pleasantly surprised as the bowl in front of me looked nothing like the bowls of chicken & dumplings I’d seen before. Like, they’re not even cousins. This magically smelling goodness held an entire piece of chicken, bone in & all. Those gummy globs were nowhere to be found either. They seemed to be replaced by these huge, fluffy biscuits that were soft & tender, yet slightly crisp on the outside. That was probably the moment I decided I’d marry my husband…ha!
Anyway, I’ve taken several of her recipes & made them my own, this one is a favorite. It’s actually the Cajun version of chicken & dumplings & that’s why I think it’s so different them gummy-globby version. Now, I know lots of you adore those gummy-globs & to you I dearly apologize, but if you can read on you may be convinced to give this version a try.
I sort of merged the 2 versions together, Cajun & traditional, to create my own form of comfort-food perfection & I know you guys will love it too! Just know, this is not a typical weeknight dinner. This is a late Sunday lunch. It takes time to prepare. It’s real deal comfort food & it’s worth it.
Start with the flavorful foursome- onion, carrots, celery & garlic! I always say, every good recipe starts with onions & garlic. Amen.
The chicken thighs will stay whole for serving, so on the bone & skin-on is best for this recipe. Each thigh gets a light, little breading.
The best part! I like think these are more list biscuits than dumplings, because ya know, I associate the dumpling with that gross gummy texture.
Browning the chicken in the pot first ensures a moist, flavorful piece of chicken & a tasty base for the roux.
The making of the roux! I probably don’t do this the right way, but I don’t have an hour to make a roux y’all! I get it to a caramely color & simply add in more flour if it’s not getting thick enough fast enough. I turn up the heat too. I know pros are shaking their heads at me, but hey I do what I can & it still tastes mighty fine!
Once you add the amazing veggies in the roux will continue to cook & darken anyway. The smell at this point is heavenly.
I’m picky about my broth! I don’t use it from a can or the box, I use better than bouillon only. When I make chicken & dumplings, I add in one of these demi-glaces too. You can find them together in the grocery store, near the actual broths. The better than bouillon is 1 Tbs per cup of water. So for this recipe (8 cups broth), I’ll use 1 demi glace + 2 Tbs better than bouillon.
This recipe is time-consuming…so much simmering! So plan ahead.
Use a scoop to drop in the dumplings, this leads to equal dumplings & people won’t argue over who gets the biggest dumplings. Not speaking from experience or anything.
Because everything must go over mashed potatoes in our family, I serve this over a bowl of mashed potatoes (get my perfect recipe here!) & it’s the best thing you’ll ever consume. I promise.
- 6 chicken thighs, bone-in/skin-on
- 1/3 c. + 3/4 c. flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 c. chopped celery
- 1 c. chopped carrots
- 2-3 garlic gloves, minced
- 1/4 c. canola oil
- 8 cups chicken broth
- cayenne, salt & Cajun seasoning to taste
- For Dumplings:
- 1 c. flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/2 c. buttermilk
- Whisk together 1/3 c. flour with salt, pepper & paprika. Dredge chicken thighs in the flour mixture, shaking off excess.
- Heat 1/4 c. canola oil over high heat in a large pot/dutch oven. Place 3 chicken thighs skin side down in the pot to brown; flip & brown other side, about 4 mins per side. Remove chicken thighs & set aside. Brown the remaining 3 chicken thighs, then set aside.
- Turn heat down to medium heat. Add 3/4 c. flour, 1/4 c. at a time to the the pot. Whisk between each addition & continue whisking until a caramel-colored roux forms, about 8-10 mins. Turn down heat if it becomes dark too quickly.
- Add all veggies- onion, celery, carrots & garlic to roux. Stir & cook until softened, about 8 mins. Roux will continue to darken in color.
- Add 8 c. chicken broth to kettle to boil.
- Turn heat down to low on the veggie-roux mixture & carefully pour in the boiling broth. Return chicken thighs to pot & bring entire mixture to a boil. Turn down to simmer for 30 minutes. Add salt, cayenne & Cajun seasoning to taste.
- Combine 1 c. flour, baking soda, salt, rosemary & buttermilk for dumpling dough. Use a scoop to drop spoonfuls of dough into the stew. Should make 8-10 dumplings. Simmer for 20 more minutes.
- Serve immediately. Best served over a bowl of mashed potatoes!