What image comes to mind when you hear the words “Chicken and Dumplings?” Well, my image looks something like this:
Your image of chicken and dumplings may be very different. Not only are there many variations on what else should be included in the dish besides chicken and dumplings (or if anything else should be included), there are two substantially different variations of dumpling use in Chicken and Dumplings in the United States, puffy and slick.
I was an adult before I discovered that dumplings were not always fluffy and biscuit-like, aka. “puffy.” I discovered the “slick” version when I ordered chicken and dumplings at Cracker Barrel. Unfortunately, I simultaneously discovered that I am not a fan of the slick version.
Each version of the dumplings are made with many of the same ingredients: water and/or milk, flour, salt, etc.. However, “slick” dumplings are rolled and have less leavening than the dropped “puffy” dumplings. The “slick” dumplings are boiled in broth or stock, while the “puffy” dumplings are floated on top of chicken stew-type mixture and steamed. The resulting dumplings have very different textures.
Both dumpling versions and the multitude of Chicken and Dumpling recipe variations all have something in common. They are all comfort food. No matter how it is made, Chicken and Dumplings can warm your soul on a rainy, cold or otherwise dreary day.
Here is my recipe for chicken and dumplings like my mom used to make: