Growing up, one of my favorite dinners was chicken and dumplings. I remember reaching up on my tip toes to peek over the edge of the deep soup pot to see the savory herbs swirling around the plump, moist bites of chicken and tender vegetables. My mother would drop spoonfuls of biscuit mix on top and pop the lid on for a few minutes. Then, as if by magic, she would reveal perfectly pillow-like dumplings resting on top of the scrumptious stew that bubbled below. My job was to sprinkle paprika on top just before serving. Perhaps this was the beginning of my interest in food presentation?
This year, I decided it was time to put my Le Crueset dutch oven to use and started the hunt for a simple chicken and dumplings recipe that would make my momma proud. I think I’ve got a contender:
Chicken and Dumplings
3/4 cup chopped onion
5 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
3 medium carrots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons fresh basil
1 teaspoon pepper
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 package (16 ounces) frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, corn)
4 cups cubed cooked chicken
2 cups biscuit/baking mix
2 T. fresh basil, finely chopped
2/3 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350°.
In a dutch oven, saute the onion, celery, sweet potato, carrots and garlic in butter over medium-high heat until tender. Stir in the flour, sugar, salt, basil and pepper until blended. Gradually add broth; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 1 minute; reduce heat. Add peas and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in chicken.
For dumplings, in a small bowl, combine baking mix and basil. Stir in milk with a fork until moistened. Drop by tablespoonfuls into mounds over chicken mixture.
Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30 minutes. Cover and bake 10 minutes longer or until a toothpick inserted in a dumpling comes out clean.
Sprinkle with paprika and serve immediately.