Classic Chicken And Dumplings but made easier with the Slow Cooker and healthier with Whole Grains. This is the dinner to serve as the temperature drops.
This has been the week of Slow Cooker dinner recipes. It's cold outside, our schedules are packed, and I really just needed simple, doable dinner recipes. This particular recipe, Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings, wins the kid vote for best meal of the week (followed by best school lunch the next day). I don't always get such a happy reception from the under age 8 crowd, so I'm displaying this kids choice dinner award proudly.
One of the hardest parts about single parenting is that it can be such a thankless job sometimes. No one to offer that end of day shoulder massage and back pat for a job well done. So, when the kids sit down to the dinner table and the house is suddenly quiet, with only the muffled mmm's of happy eaters content with their chicken and dumplings, I take that as my cue and I pat myself on the back. Warm meal that everyone is eating = job well done.
It's not so much that I think good parenting equals meals from scratch. It's certainly a lot more nuanced than that. Still, I can't help feeling that a successful dinner like this one is a big step in the right direction. Parenting happens in the trenches, so count every victory.
After a good dinner, one can forgive anybody, even one's relatives. - Oscar Wilde
Because I'm awfully partial to spelt flour, I made the dumplings with freshly ground whole grain spelt. If that's not happening at your house today, sub in all purpose flour, or whole wheat, or half and half - whatever works. If you do use wheat or all purpose flour, however, I'd cut back the flour by a half cup.
There is a little bit of extra prep work for this slow cooker meal - it's not just one you can dump. But those 20 minutes ensure a really delicious batch of Chicken and Dumplings at the end of the day.
Also, the recipe I adapted this from (thank you America's Test Kitchen!) originally called for white wine. When I don't have any I sub cooking sherry or even chicken broth and it works just fine every time.
Let's get cooking!
- 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch chunks
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 celery ribs, sliced ¼ inch thick
- 1 cup carrots, diced into ¼ inch thick pieces
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup dry white wine (see note above for options)
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 cups whole grain spelt flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- Begin by browning the chicken meat. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer meat to slow cooker and repeat with remaining chicken.
- Once chicken has been browned and placed in slow cooker, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet and saute onions, celery, and carrots until just softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, bay leaves and thyme. Stirring constantly, cook for an additional minute.
- Stir in flour, then slowly whisk in wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen browned bits. Whisk in 1 cup of broth and bring to a simmer. Transfer hot mixture carefully to slow cooker. Stir in remaining 3 cups of broth. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours. Stir in peas.
- For the Dumplings, whisk together the dry ingredients. Stir in milk and melted butter until just incorporated. Drop 8 dumplings, about ¼ cup of batter, around the perimeter of the stew. Cover and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour on LOW until dumplings have doubled in size and are cooked through. Remove bay leaves and serve warm,
Adapted from Cook's Country January 2013