In this article, I will walk you through the procedure of preparing chicken and dumplings using a cooker. You'll find everything from selecting the ingredients to suggestions for achieving flawless dumplings. Rest assured I've got all your bases covered.
Benefits of Using a Crock Pot for Chicken and Dumplings
The first and most significant benefit is the time and effort it saves. The slow cooking process allows the flavors to fully develop resulting in tender and juicy chicken. Another great aspect of using a cooker is that you can simply set it up and forget about it giving you the freedom to go about your day while your meal cooks perfectly.
Another advantage of utilizing a crock pot is that it helps retain the nutrients in the ingredients. The slow cooking method ensures that all the vitamins and minerals are preserved, providing you with a nourishing meal. Additionally due to the moist environment created by the cooker there's no risk of drying out the chicken resulting in a dish.
Ingredients for Chicken and Dumplings
You'll need the following ingredients:
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 3 stalks of celery, sliced
- 6 cups of chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup milk
Preparing the Chicken for the Crock Pot
Start by trimming any fat from the chicken thighs. Then season both sides of the chicken with a pinch of salt and pepper to enhance its flavor. This will give the chicken a color.
Next heat a skillet over heat. Add one tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot carefully place the chicken thighs in the skillet. Cook them for 3-4 minutes on each side until they achieve a golden brown color.
After browning the chicken transfer it to a crock pot. Set it aside. Now you can proceed to the next step of your recipe.
Adding the Vegetables and Seasonings
Once you've added the chicken to the crock pot, it's time to add in the vegetables and seasonings. Start by putting in the chopped onion, minced garlic, sliced carrots and sliced celery into the crock pot.
Next pour in some chicken broth. Sprinkle a bay leaf dried thyme and dried parsley. These herbs and spices will give an aroma. Don't forget to taste the broth!
Making the Dumplings from Scratch
Start by mixing the all purpose flour, baking powder and salt together in a mixing bowl. Use a pastry cutter or your fingertips to cut in the butter until the mixture looks like crumbs.
Once the butter is evenly mixed, pour in the milk and stir until a soft dough forms. Take care not to overmix as this could lead to dumplings. The dough should be slightly sticky but easy to handle. If it seems dry, add one tablespoon of milk at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
Cooking the Chicken and Dumplings in the Crock Pot
Once the chicken and vegetables have been cooked in the crock pot for 4 hours on high heat or 8 hours on low heat, it's time to add the dumplings. Carefully add spoonfuls of the dumpling mixture onto the surface of the simmering chicken and vegetables. Cover the crock pot. Let it cook for 30 minutes on high or 1 hour on low.
During this time the dumplings will steam and cook in the delicious broth becoming light and fluffy. It's important to resist any temptation to constantly lift the lid and check on them as this may result in dumplings becoming dense.
Serving and Enjoying Your Homemade Chicken and Dumplings
After the cooking time is finished, take out the bay leaf from the crock pot. Give the chicken and dumplings a mix. The chicken should be tender enough to be pierced with a fork and the dumplings should be fully cooked. Serve the chicken and dumplings in bowls.
Variations and Additions to Chicken and Dumplings
Here are some variations and additions you can try:
- Swap the chicken thighs for boneless, skinless chicken breasts or a combination of both.
- Add frozen peas or corn to the crock pot during the last hour of cooking for an extra burst of color and sweetness.
- Stir in a splash of heavy cream or half-and-half at the end for a richer and creamier broth.
- Sprinkle some chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley or chives.