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What is Chicken and Dumplings?

By Phil Shepley
Updated May 17, 2024
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Chicken and dumplings is a very popular American dish that consists mainly of the two items of chicken and dumplings along with variations of other ingredients and spices. This dish can be popular fare in the southern United States, and is considered to be soul food, which is a category of American food made popular within the African-American culture in the United States. The dish of chicken and dumplings became popular initially in the 17th century.

The type of chicken that is called for in the typical chicken and dumplings recipe can actually be any part of the chicken. For those seeking a version of the dish that is a bit healthier, only the chicken breast may be used. In any case, the chicken is usually cooked thoroughly and chopped before being cooked with the rest of the dish.

The other main ingredient of chicken and dumplings, the dumpling, is a mixture of flour and milk that is boiled and can be made with a consistency that is either heavier or lighter than traditional noodles, depending on the process. Dumplings can also be made simply from biscuit mix that is boiled to give it its unique consistency, and then added to the chicken and dumplings. The other ingredients of chicken and dumplings can vary greatly, and this variance gives each different dish its own unique flavor.

A couple of ingredients that are usually involved are black pepper and salt, the latter of which can be reduced to enhance the healthiness of the dish. Chicken broth and butter are often used as well in order to give the chicken and dumplings a gravy-like consistency, and the broth can usually be added from a can of condensed soup broth. Vegetables may be added in different quantities to further add to the complexity of the taste of the dish, and some of these can include celery, onions, carrots, parsley and more.

Once combined according to whatever recipe is used, the dish of chicken and dumplings can be cooked either on or in the oven, or by using a crock-pot or slow cooker. The dish can be served hot, and is ideal for freezing and serving in the future as an easy meal. When served, chicken and dumplings are best accompanied with a side of a hot vegetable, for example green beans, steamed carrots or fried okra.

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Discussion Comments
By Rotergirl — On Mar 22, 2014

Good chicken and dumplings don't need a can of condensed soup added. The gravy shouldn't be too thick.

Dumplings are best when rolled out lightly and "pinched" off to cook in the gravy, along with the chicken. Topping a chicken gravy with biscuits is *not* chicken and dumplings. I don't know what it is, but it's not chicken and dumplings.

Chicken and dumplings are best served with cornbread and black-eyed peas, in my opinion.

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