January 31, 2013

Winter Comfort Food

ScriptOk. Not the best photo. I do what I can with the TOTAL LACK OF GOOD LIGHT these days. Don’t see this a pile of yellow gobbledygook on a plate. See it instead as sunny, golden goodness, infused with a fluffy, biscuity, chickeny melting of happiness on a plate. THAT’S what you need to be seeing, because that’s what it is.

_DSC0043This is a recipe that I found originally in my beloved and sadly departed Cookie magazine, which I talk about all the time. IT WAS SUCH A GOOD MAGAZINE.

_DSC0030My mother used to make chicken and dumplings when I was little and I thought it was greatest thing I had ever had in my life. I don’t have her recipe written down, but her liquid was cream based and her ‘dumplings’ were like flat, chewy, thick noodles, which I’ve since discovered comes from Pennsylvanian Dutch recipes for chicken and dumplings.

_DSC0031That there what you’re seeing up above is THYME. It is a magical ingredient. Thyme is now my favorite herb, I’ve decided.

When I first came across the Cookie magazine recipe, my first reaction was “Oh. That looks plain. And NOT LIKE MY MOM’S.”

But I made it anyway.

_DSC0033And…not only do I like better than my mom’s, it is FAR AND AWAY one of the best recipes I’ve ever made in my life.

Gonna repeat. ONE OF THE BEST THINGS I’VE EVER MADE. It really, really is. I have a thyme plant, so I can snip my own thyme. But if I didn’t, I’d go seek out some fresh thyme. I’ve never made this with dried thyme, so I can’t weigh in on whether or not that makes a difference. You could prolly use dried thyme and it would still taste awesome.

_DSC0034Seasoned flour.

_DSC0035Bay leaves. (I am so helpful.)

_DSC0046The Cookie mag version has you making biscuits that are cooked in the braising liquid and they soak up chicken stock juice as they cook. THEY ARE UNBELIEVABLE.

Not gonna lie. There are some steps to this recipe. You gotta chop and and prep the veggies. But if you do that, and assemble things ahead of time, you can make this on a weeknight. Or make it when you have more time on the weekend.

I was so terrified of losing this recipe that I had it well hidden for awhile, and then I couldn’t find it and freaked out. I hid it too well. But it’s floating around in internet land, and now that I’m putting it all down here, I don’t have to be so crazed about holding onto that torn out sheet of magazine from whence it came. THAT’S A RELIEF.

Friends, this is a GIFT I am giving to you! I want you to know. I hope you appreciate. It is so so so so good.

Cookie Magazine Chicken and Dumplings

For the Soup:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 3lb chicken, cut up (i use all thighs)
1/4 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper to taste
1 medium yellow onion, cut into large chunks
2 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 stalks celery, cut into large chunks
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme (i use more like 3, or maybe 4. I like thyme)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

For the Dumplings:
1 and 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 and 3/4 cups heavy cream

1) In a wide, heavy pot with a tight fitting lid, heat the olive oil. 2) Dredge the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour, then brown them in the oil over medium heat, about 3-5 minutes a side. Remove and set aside. 3) Add the onion to the pot and cook for 2 minutes. 4) Add the carrots, celery, bay leaf, thyme, turmeric, salt, and pepper and cook for 1 minute more. 5) Stir in the broth. 6) Return the chicken (and juices) to the pot, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

7) Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the first 5 dumpling ingredients. 8) Add the cream and mix until just combined. 9) Drop about 12 heaping tablespoons of dumpling mixture into the pot. Cover and simmer for 12 minutes more. 10) To serve, scoop the dumplings and chicken into bowls, and then cover with broth. Garnish with parsley. (I have never done this ever.)

(Already used this photo in another post, but here it is again.)

This recipe might maybe (probably not) make winter more bearable. But at least if the weather is making you miserable, your tummy can be happy. CUZ YUMMY FOOD MAKES IT ALL BETTER.


  1. this looks yum. Just this morning I thought, I really should be drinking broccoli juice or something (you know, whatever SJP has in the morning), as I seem to be constantly tired, but as it's Winter (and I don't have a juicer) it just had to be french toast. You are so right, these days it's comfort food or nothing.

    1. I really want a juicer too! i'm thinking we'll all be more perky in the springtime :)

  2. Replies
    1. mine does! :) (and he's not the hugest chicken fan ;)

  3. Replies
    1. i usually only make this once or twice a yr but now I think i need to make it again! it's really not that hard :)

  4. God I love chicken and dumplings. It's the perfect soup/meal for cold days and I am eating some for lunch today (but sadly from a can). Thanks for sharing your recipe! Will have to try absolutely!

    1. if you try it out someday, tell me how you liked it Cherie!

  5. I'll pass it on the husband. He and the girls might like it! ;o)

  6. This looks so much like the chicken & dumplings my grandmother makes. I'll have to add this to the menu for this weekend.

    1. I'm thinking it might be on our weekend agenda as well, Miss Shannon :)

  7. I haven't had chicken and dumplings since I was a very little girl and my Grandma Varga came from Ohio to visit and made them for us. My mama is a good cook but if something has steps she never bothered... and now I've grown up to be intimidated by recipes with steps... but it does look and sound wonderful!

    1. really it's worth it. i've made fiddly things that weren't worth it. this is! it's the veggie prep and making the dumplings and browning the chicken -- but it's not hard, i swear. i make it a couple times a year.

  8. I absolutely love Chicken and Dumplings. I generally make it with leftover roast chicken because there's only so much Chicken à la King one person can stand!

  9. Going to have to try this recipe. I've always been intimidated by dumplings but you have given me the COURAGE! Just looking at your pics has made me ridiculously hungry. Yum!

  10. someone else mentioned cooking chicken and dumplings today and I have been thinking about them all day! looks wonderful!

  11. cookie magazine was the best!! and i am pinning the shit out of this recipe for dinner this weekend.