Thursday, December 6, 2012

Homemade Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

Homemade Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

Mary B's Dumplings
My favorite Christmas recipe… I have to choose just one? I don’t eat many vegetables so that narrows it down to meat, potatoes, and chicken and dumplings.

Chicken and dumplings are one of my favorite things about Christmas dinner. Yes, I eat them throughout the year, but there is something about having them at Christmas and Thanksgiving that makes them so much better. Maybe it’s because of all the hearty fixins that go along with them during the holidays.

Being from the south, I have had chicken and dumplings several ways. Some were great and some were ‘uh… who taught you how to cook chicken and dumplings?’ There are some things you just don’t do to a pot of chicken and dumplings. Let’s go over those, shall we?


4 Rules for Cooking Chicken and Dumplings:
1: Dumplings do not belong in a can. I wouldn’t feed my dog canned dumplings, nor would I eat them.
2. Dumplings are made from a doughy substance. Not a tortilla. There is nothing appealing about cutting tortillas up and boiling them. I know, thousands of people love them, but not this fat girl.
3. Dumplings do not need veggies. Yes, I am anti-veggie for the most part, but still, where do you see celery, carrots, onions, or any other vegetable in the title ‘Chicken and Dumplings”? If you add veggies to it then it would be Chicken and Carrots and Celery and Dumplings… and yuck!\

4. Do not chop up chicken for your dumplings! This is not a casserole, a chicken salad or anything along those lines. If you don’t have time to shred your chicken, then by all means, do it the day before or find someone else to make the darn dumplings. I cannot stand chopped chicken in my dumplings. It messes with the balance of the taste. Yeah, I don’t know if there is such thing but, hey, you know what I mean.

And of course, it should go without saying... do not used canned chicken!!!

Now that we have the rules for cooking chicken and dumplings out of the way, I will let you in on a delicious secret you may, or may not already know…

Let me introduce you to my favorite lady in the kitxhen… Mrs. Mary B!


Mary B’s Open Kettle Dumplings are FABULOUS! If you haven’t had them before, you've got to give them a try. Mrs. Mary took out all the work by making the dumpling dough ahead of time, cutting it into strips and freezing them for me to cook later. She will do it for you, too! You can find them in the freezer section near the biscuits. They cost $2-3 and two packs make a huge stock pot full with plenty of leftover.

How to Cook Mary B’s Open Kettle Chicken & Dumplings


I start by washing, cutting and boiling my chicken. I use a whole chicken, chicken breast or whatever I have on hand. I prefer a mix of white and dark meat, but it’s all up to you, though bone in and skin on, makes for a much richer stock and better flavor. Make sure you use a big pot so that you have plenty of room for water, chicken and the dumplings later on.

Cover the chicken with plenty of water, add in some salt, pepper, and any other flavorings you like. Boil the chicken until it is done and then remove from the water and set aside to cool. Bring the water back to a rumbling boil…

Once your chicken is removed it’s time to start on the dumplings. Once the water is back to boiling, remove your dumplings from the freezer and break them into pieces. They will swell to almost twice their size so I like to break each piece into 1/5’s or so. It’s quicker if you break 3-4 pieces (strips) at the time. Stir them often while you are adding the dumplings so they don’t stick together.

After all the dumplings have been added, let them boil for 3-5 minutes and then reduce the heat to about medium-low. You want them just above a simmer. Put the lid on and let them cook for about 30-45 minutes. They will usually float on the top until they are close to getting done. When they start settling to the bottom, you will need to stir them more frequently. Note: The package says something like 20 minutes. Well, someone in Mrs. B’s kitchen messed up. Make sure you plan on 30-45 minutes just for the dumplings- add additional time for the chicken. I usually start my dumpling about an hour and half to two hours before I want them done. If they get done early, it won’t hurt a thing. The longer they rest, the more flavor they have. Hints, the reason they are so much better the next day.

While your dumplings are cooking, shred the chicken to your own preference. I like mine shredded in to thin pieces so that it blends well and you get chicken in every bite. Don’t forget to check on your dumplings often and add cup or two of water as needed, to keep the broth/juices kind of thin until they are close to being done.

You can tell the dumplings are about done when they nearly double their size and sink to the bottom. I take one out with a fork, let it cool and check the consistency. I prefer mine to be barely done when I take them off the heat because I let them set for another 10 minutes or so, plus the time it takes everyone to get piled into the kitchen and ready to eat. They will continue to cook for quite some time even after they are removed from the heat.

Once the dumplings are done, or very close to being done, stir in the chicken and sample the dumplings. If it needs more salt or pepper, add it now. If the juice is getting to thick, add more water or chicken broth. Keep in mind, as they set, the dumplings will soak up the water so put a little extra so they aren't dry and pasty. You can never really go wrong with dumplings as long as you don’t scorch them!

Simple as pie, or should I say dumplings…. Boil the chicken and set aside, break and boil the dumplings, shred and add the chicken, and enjoy! No one will ever know they were not rolled on your counter. Some consider this cheating, and I have had people tell me they would never eat a frozen dumplings or any other form not rolled out. The fire chief’s wife always insisted that she would be able to tell the difference. Well, I got the chance to prove her wrong at the fire department Christmas dinner back in 2003. Needless to say, for the next 4 years, my official ‘must-bring’ dish for any event, per her request, was my chicken and dumplings.

Side Note: You can add chicken stock if you like. I use bone in and skin on chicken so their is plenty of flavor. When I have been in a pinch and only had boneless or skinless chicken I did add stock. You can try it without it and always at it in near the end if need be. I tell you, Mrs. B's Open Kettle Dumplings are incredibly easy- you can't go wrong!

50 comments:

  1. i am beyond jealous! i love mary b tea biscuits so i bet these are so yummy...i now live in chicago where you can't find frozen biscuits let alone dumplings...sigh...maybe ill find them next time i'm back in the south... lovely post..sarah

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    1. I live in NYC, but I found them at a Wal-Mart supermarket on Long Island. I'm sure there's one in Chicago, so try there!

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  2. Oh sweet Jesus, no dumplings and no frozen biscuits? I don't care for canned and never tried to make them from scratch... I can't imagine not having frozen biscuits, simply because they are my only option. I do cook canned biscuits for my husband but I don't eat them. If you have a good biscuit recipe be sure to share it. I have seen so many but never cared to give it a try though I may have to do that now.

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  3. I have tried this brand and trying again tomorrow. They were good but my question is they were so frozen I couldn't break the dumplings apart or in bigger pieces. If I did try to break them on the counter or with butter knife, I only got small little pieces. I like the bigger pieces of dumplings. Any suggestions

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  4. And by the way, I also agree with all your rules of fixing chicken and dumplings. Momma never added all the vegs and fancy stuff.

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  5. Pam, the reason they were stuck together was because they were thawed out and then refrozen. This can be partly because of buying them at the store and then bringing them home and tossing them back in the freezer. Other times it can be from poor handling at the grocery store :( I always make sure the back doesn't feel crunchy and frosty to avoid this. YES, they are hard to get 'unstuck' for sure. I usually beat them on the counter. LOL, I know sounds silly but it works. I beat the sides on the counter. There are usually two or three I can't get apart and I end up tossing those. For the most part, make sure that those are the first thing you put up when you unload the groceries!

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  6. Agree, agree. It's my daughter's favorite and I'm making it for her b'day tomorrow. I always add lots of black pepper and serve with broccoli cole slaw. Mmmm Mmmm
    She likes her broth a bit thick, so at the end I dip out about a cup of broth and add flour and mix well with a fork before pouring it back in the pot.

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  7. Stop using Palm Oil in the Dumplings!!!! Boycott palm Oil!!! Palm Oil is dangerous destructive killing massive animals, habitats and forests!! I will not buy this until Mary B's uses something other than Palm Oil I do not want to kill and create this destruction just to stuff my face and eat!!

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  8. No offense care, that's with nearly any food you eat. Any meat product especially. There is chicken in these dumplings... do the chickens themselves not count. I mean no disrespect but if you are avoiding a specific food group over a plant, then what about all the others?

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  9. I made chicken and dumplings in almost exactly this way, even before I read this recipe! They were good, but I, too, had trouble breaking up the frozen dumplings. I agree that chicken and dumplings should be just that--chicken and dumplings. Save the peas, carrots and whatever for another recipe. And, yes, the dumplings need to be cooked longer than the Mary B folks tell you on the package. I added a little milk to the recipe, only because that is what I saw my grandmother do. She, of course, made her dumplings from scratch!

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  10. Tried the dumplings yesterday. Never changed texture. Cooked and cooked uncovered, then covered. Ended up throwing away gooey chunks of dough...

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  11. Gail, I am sorry to hear that. As you can tell from the other posts, no one else seem to have an trouble. Sounds like either you didn't cook them long enough or else you didn't keep them stirred. I am really sorry to hear they didn't turn out well for you. I would suggest you give them another try because they are fabulous! Make sure you have plenty of water and/or stock! They need lots of liquid! At first it will look like too much, but the dumplings will soak it up and also some will evaporate! Please give them another try....
    Also, don't pay attention to the cooking times listed on the package. It's not long enough!

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    1. The broth needs to be boiling when you add them to the pot and make sure you separate the pieces, I've found if they are stuck together I can turn them on their side and bang them and they will separate most of the time, if not a table knife slid in between will help. Sometimes there are a few stubborn ones and I break them as small as I can so they will cook better. I always break them length wise in three parts. My mother thaws them and dredges them in flour. I do not, because it makes the broth thicker. My mother also uses cream in hers, but I prefer the thinner broth. Cooking about 45 min seems to be the best and stir, stir , stir often to keep from sticking to bottom of pan.

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  12. There's nothing like Grandma's cooking! I have never thought about milk but I will have to give that a try. Seems like it would make them nice and thick, and very creamy!

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  13. Save your money and make everything from scratch. This person might be a rep. of mrs.b's.

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    1. They are the best dumplings I ever had and I am not a rep from Mary B's either :) Try them you might like them

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    2. I'm no rep and I'm telling you these dumplings are the bomb!!

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  14. Sorry Anonymous.... I'm not a Mrs. B's representative. If so, I would probably be fired by now because I can't see where my crafts and beauty topics would go over very well. I would be busy promoting her other products!

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  15. Stephanie can this be made the night before without it turning to a gluey mess any tips would be helpful i need this for easter dinner thanks

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  17. Brenda,

    Yes, you can make them the night before. Now, the next morning after they cool in the fridge they will look like a 'block' of dumplings. DON'T PANIC! Simply add a little water to your big pot, maybe a 1/4 cup or so and add the dumplings and simmer them with a lid on low. You can also put them in the crock pot to slowly eat back up! :) If you have family coming over this is a great option- you don't have to worry about them sticking, they will stay warm and it will save space on the stove when you are trying to cook a big meal.

    I have also reheated them in the microwave and they were fine.

    The key is to add a little water to thin them back out because they will soak up some of the water, and the next day they are actually more like homemade-rolled-out dumplings. My family likes them even more left over. :) It's hard to mess them up, I promise!

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  18. Thank you so much for getting back to me so fast. Happy Easter

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  19. What about adding cream of chicken to make it thicker? Would that work? Cooking these this afternoon and I plan to boil boneless chicken so I will be using chicken stock/broth and was curious about the cream of chicken.

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  20. You can add cream of chicken but, I don't think you will need it. If you want the, thicker, just don't keep adding water. And what you need to cook the, but at the end don't add anymore and the broth will become thick from the flour in the dumplings. By all means you can add the team of chicken and it will make them nice and creamy with a thick broth, but no would suggest adding it aboutn 10 min before you get ready to turn them off. That way it won't thicken them too much and they won't scorch.

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  21. Fixing to attempt this recipe...I have been craving chicken and dumplings....

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  22. I can't wait to try this tomorrow night. I bought the Mary B's dumplings this evening and bought some fresh chicken thighs and breasts at my local meat market. I will let you know how it turns out.

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  23. Stephanie, at many failed attempts to make my own dough, I bought some Mary B's. I would never go back. My mother even told me she thought my chicken and dumplings were better than hers, and hers ARE the best. No veggies in mine, either.

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  24. What am I doing wrong? I followed your instructions exactly and my dumplings are not thickening. They have been on for 2 hours. I don't understand. Help, please

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  25. They do take a LONG time to cook. Still waiting and hope they turn out.

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  26. Stephanie just found your website love your dumpling recipe I seen one comment about palm oil palm oil come from the fruit not the tree. Keep up the good work. Your husband doesn't know how lucky he is. Everybody needs a good cook.

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  27. I, for one will never buy Mary B's dumplings again. Could not get any of them apart. I now have to go and make my own so I can use this chicken and broth that I have made.

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    1. I use a butter knife to separate them while frozen..a quick pop between each one works just fine. Hope you don't give up on them just for that alone.

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  28. Mine are just like big, thick noodles? Is something else supposed to happen? It's not like when I make this with a biscuit style dough.

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    1. These are not like the biscuit style dumplings.. They are more like longer thick noodles. As you stated.. You cooked them correctly just not the style you were expecting.

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  29. I made them and liked them. Mrs. B's dumplings surely saved me a lot of trouble and time. No one complained, and they were eaten.

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  30. Do u not add cream of chix soup at any time?

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  31. I made Mary B's dumplings yesterday for my family and by the recipe added (5 qts. of water) to chicken before cooking plus onion and celery. It seemed like a lot of water but thought the dumplings would obsorbed liquid. When done removed chicken and still seemed like alot of broth but since I was using the whole package I did not remove any of broth until almost done and it looked like dumpling soup ! so had to remove almost 2 qts of broth and still had to thicken broth. I feel the instructions should reduce the amount of water. They were delicious but I was stressed before my family arrived. Betty Plum

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  32. Several things about cooking dumplings: First Make sure your water is boiling, or they will swell up into giant puff dumplings. Second, in shipping, they may defrost a litter and humidity will cause them to stick together, a butter knife works great to separate them. Its easier whey they are frozen, if defrosted they may fall apart. These are the closest if not on the money tasting like home made out of a kitchen. You cant beat them no matter what. For those trying them for the first time, you water MUST be BOILING!!!! when placing them into the pot, for those wanting a thicker gravy, sprinkle or rub (THIN LAYER)a little flour on your dumpling before placing in the pot, this will help thicken your gravy. Hope this helps, once you get the hang of cooking dumplings, you'll understand what your doing wrong, its trial and error when there is no one to show you otherwise.

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  33. My granddaughter had a great time banging those blocks of frozen dumplings on the counter to make them separate and it worked!

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  34. my grandmother always put celery and sliced boiled eggs in her chicken n dumplings and always uses mary b's :)

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  35. i found out putting them in microwave 30 seconds works perfect to separate those that are stuck together.I have no problem now.Just don't leave them in to long.


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  36. I had chicken and dumplings on the dinner menu for tonight and while shopping for the ingredients, saw Mary B's open kettle frozen dumplings as well as another brand. I make my dumplings using flour and ice water only. I looked at the ingredients of the other brand and it had close to at least 20 ingredients. I read the ingredients in Mary B's dumplings and was presently surprise...water, flour and palm oil. I bought them hoping they tasted as good as my own...I wasn't disappointed! Mary B's open kettle frozen dumplings takes at least 45 minutes off my prep time and I am so happy I found them!

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  37. I have used these for years. I generally let them sit out for ten minutes, and they come apart just fine. As stated cook longer than the directions say. I also add milk like grandma did. Got to have dumplings on the Christmas table, brings back childhood memories of better times.

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  38. This will be my very first time cooking chicken and dumplings! I'm from the north and my boyfriend is from the south.lol we travel for work so it's just me and him and I have to make him some of his favorite southern dishes! Hopefully I will accomplish this recipe!

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  39. This will be my very first time cooking chicken and dumplings! I'm from the north and my boyfriend is from the south.lol we travel for work so it's just me and him and I have to make him some of his favorite southern dishes! Hopefully I will accomplish this recipe!

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  40. The first Mary Bs frozen dumplings were small package and smaller dumplings. Now the grocery only carry a large package and dumplings are large and thick. Are not as successful. Please bring back the thinner dumplings

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  41. I can't tell difference between rolled out & Mary B dumplings. I'm in the south & can't stand "biscuit" dumplings & can't imagine them without chopped celery & onion (add while cooking chicken).Unlike my mother, who was a chef & loved to cook, I loathe cooking. I find Mary B frozen dumplings are a life saver. I even turned my mother onto them, & she never again rolled out dumplings.

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  42. I discovered these years ago and they are a must on Christmas Eve at my house (now my son's). I've tried another brand a few years ago because the grocer I went to had stopped handling Mary B's. I never did that again!

    Totally agree about no veggies!

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  43. I prefer what my family calls puff cloud (biscuit) dumplings, but alas my husband likes the chewy kind. Mary B's makes it simple. And the catch with adding milk is add a small amount of flour mixed with milk to make a slurry. Drizzle in stirring constantly. The broth will thicken quicky so wait until you are almost ready to serve. Sticking will be an issue if you do it too early. My hubby hates chicken but lives these dumplings! Go figure. Happy comfort food!

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  44. I will be using fesh boneless skinned tenderloins. Should I boil the tenderloins in chicken broth? How long should I boil it? How much broth should I use for boiling the dumplings? Any other suggestions for a C&D newbie? THANKS!

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