I’m home from a week chasing the leaves and breaking in my knit hat in Maine. I left New Orleans, sweating through a sweater and found myself in a red, orange, and yellow actual autumn wonderland up north craving this chicken and dumpling recipe.
Whenever I come home from a trip, which feels like a lot this year, I feel a big, open-hearted drive to nest and settle. I water the houseplants… those poor things are troopers. I usually hustle out the Instant Pot and make a batch of beans. I jar the kombucha… or think about it. I feed Tron because he’s surely yelling about snacks. I re-up my kitchen altar. Refill the seed cycling balls and settle on a cozy cozy recipe to make and enjoy all week. It’s all in an effort to get grounded at home. A hot batch of something always does the work.
This week I’m filling my dutch oven with chicken and dumplings but because October is upon us we’ve got to pumpkin sooooomething. Let’s pumpkin these dumplings! What do ya say?
Here’s what we’ll need for this chicken and dumpling recipe:
• Stew starter veggies like onion, celery, carrots, and garlic.
• Boneless skinless chicken thighs, or whatever cut you’d like.
• Dried thyme, salt and pepper.
• Chicken broth and finishing greens like peas and parsley.
• Flour, baking powder, salt, egg, pumpkin puree, butter and buttermilk for the dumpling. * These dumplings also work really well substituting a gluten-free flour blend!
Start by generously seasoning the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
We’re going to pan fry the chicken so leave it at room temperature for about 30 minutes so we’re not pan trying it from fridge-cold.
Brown each piece of chicken on both side in hot olive oil. There’s no need to worry about cooking the chicken all the way through, it will simmer later in the stew.
Set the browned chicken aside and add the vegetables to olive oil. Stir up any browned bits of chicken from the bottom of the pan as the vegetables soften.
With the vegetables softened, add the chicken back to the pan, along with a bay leaf.
Add the chicken broth and let the chicken and dumpling recipe simmer to cook the chicken through and incorporate the ingredients.
Spoiler alert: everything smells amazing right now!
While the stew cooks we can assemble the dumplings. Think of these as little drop biscuits that will cook and float as they simmer in the stew.
My first past at typing ‘biscuits’ here came out as ‘bizcuits’ and I really should have left it. My soul was on to something.
Start with flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and a dash of dried thyme. Add cold butter, just a bit, and using fingers, break the butter down into the dry ingredients.
In a small bowl whisk together the egg, buttermilk, and pumpkin puree.
We’ll add the wet ingredients directly to the flour mixture and stir so a soft, wet dough.
I used an ice cream / cookie scoop to dollop the dumpling dough into the hot stew.
Cover the pot and allow the mixture to come to a simmer – cooking the dumplings in the stew itself.
The dumplings will puff together to pleasingly plump. You’ll know it when you see it.
Serve warm and hearty with a dumpling or two in each bowl. It’s just as satisfying as your heart is telling you.
Other cozy recipes you might enjoy this time of year:Print
For the soup:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- salt and pepper to season chicken thighs
- 1 large yellow onion, coarsely diced
- 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 4 ribs celery, trimmed and sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
- 2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
For the dumplings:
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold cut into cubes
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk, cold
- To make the soup, place oil in a heavy bottom soup pot over medium-high heat.
- Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides. Place in the soup pan to brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and place on a plate. Chicken won’t be fully cooked through but it will return to the pot to simmer a bit later.
- Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and thyme to the pot. Stir and saute until the onions are cooked through and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Return the chicken to the pot. Add the bay leaf and chicken stock.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are cooked through and softened, about 30 to 40 minutes.
- Remove the chicken when it is cooked through and carefully chop and shred it. Return the chicken to the pan.
- While the soup simmers. Make the dumplings. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, thyme, and pepper. Add the butter and use your fingers to break it down into the flour mixture creating small flecks of butter throughout the mixture.
- In a small bowl whisk together egg, pumpkin, and buttermilk. Stir the wet mixture into the dry until just combined. Try not to over-stir the dumpling dough.
- When the vegetables in the soup are cooked through and the chicken is chopped and returned to the pot, bring the soup to a light simmer and season to taste. Stir in peas and parsley. Use a small spoon to gently dollop about 2 tablespoons of dough into the simmering soup.
- The dumpling may sink, but will rise to the surface of the soup as it cooks. Add all of the dumplings.
- Cover the pot. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes the dumplings should be cooked through. Remove from heat and serve warm!