Old Timey Chicken and Dumplings

Listen, I know I'm Italian and I'm only supposed to cook Italian food, or so people will tell me.  I just cant do that though.  Not when there are so many down home American classics that break up the monotony of macaroni and meatballs.  It's not that I don't love eating the good old Italian American classics, but I do get tired of making the same thing over and over again.  So I try to mix it up to make things interesting for me in the kitchen, and to get my family eating a variety of delicious things.

Like I said before, it may surprise you that my Mother's Father, my beloved grandfather, grew up in the south on a farm.  I learned so much from him in the kitchen, because he was always making those country dishes - rib sticking down home, old timey dishes that literally made me feel like I wasn't sitting in a rowhome, but in a farm kitchen somewhere in my barefeet with a summer breeze coming through an open window.

Chicken and dumplings are one of my guilty pleasures.  I just LOVE drop dumplings.  They are so moist and delicious.  Dipping each piece into that chicken broth......HEAVENLY.

Now, as always, I have tweaked a few things to add some extra flavor, but for the most part, this is my family's recipe as I remember it growing up.  I know you guys will love it, especially with those chilly winter days coming.

Old Timey Chicken and Dumplings

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: about 1 1/2 hours
Serves 4-6


1 whole chicken, cut into pieces - How to Butcher a Chicken
1 large onion, cut into big chunks
3 stalks celery, cut into chunks
4 carrots cut into chunks
1/2 cup frozen peas
6 cups good chicken stock
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 TBSP butter

Gravy Base
4 TBSP butter
4 TBSP flour
1/2 cup heavy cream

Drop Dumplings
3 TBSP vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp parsley
3/4 cup whole milk


Combine flour, baking powder, salt and parsley into a bowl and using a fork or pastry blender, cut shortening into mixture, until it resembles coarse pebbles.  Cover with plastic wrap and set into the refrigerator.

In a large soup pot, add the chicken pieces, celery, onion, carrots, chicken stock, salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, bay leaf and butter.

Place over medium high heat until it comes to a boil.  Pop a lid on it, reduce the heat to medium low and check for seasoning.  Continue to cook for about 45 minutes.

Remove the chicken pieces to a plate, uncovered.

Strain the liquid into a separate bowl.  Reserve vegetables.  Discard bay leaf.

Using a fork, begin to pull all of the chicken off of the bones, and breaking larger pieces apart.  Discard bones and return to the plate.  Add vegetables to plate as well.  Set aside.

In the empty soup pot over medium heat, melt 4 TBSP of butter.  Whisking vigorously, add the 4 TBSP flour.  Whisk constantly over the heat until you get a very light beige color (think of tea with milk).  Add 1/2 cup of strained stock and whisk it in until it becomes thick and smooth.  Continue adding the stock a little at a time, whisking well with each addition.  Bring heat down to medium and stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream.

Once everything is combined, add the chicken pieces and vegetables to the pot along with 1/2 cup of frozen peas.  Check for seasoning.

Remove flour mixture from the refrigerator and add in 3/4 cup of whole milk.  Without over-mixing, combine to make a nice dough.

Using two spoons, form balls and drop dumplings directly into the liquid.  Cover immediately, reduce heat to low and allow to cook for about 10-15 minutes.  Do not disturb the dumplings.  Allow them to rise and expand.

Once the dumplings are cooked, you are ready to serve.  Enjoy!!

Krissi Biasiello is a native of South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Cooking since she was a little girl with her large Italian family, she decided to leave her paralegal job and shoot for the stars on FOX’s cooking competition show, MasterChef.  She beat out 43,000 homecooks across America and came in 4th place.  Under the scrutiny of Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich, Krissi has made her mark in the culinary world.  She now shares her recipes with all of you!  Her rustic, homestyle take on everything will win you over and will definitely “get your asses in the kitchen”. 

To contact Krissi for appearances, in-home demonstrations, catering and more, you can find her below:

Instagram - RotundChef 


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