Friday, August 10, 2012

No Complaints- Chicken and Dumplings

I know making meals that please the whole family, and are healthy, that don't take up your whole evening are sometimes difficult to come up with. Trust me. I know. My husband likes spicy, my dad doesn't. I love trying new things, my mom doesn't. Middle son doesn't like potatoes, my sister doesn't like condiments, fresh tomatoes, or anything out of the ordinary. My oldest son doesn't really care for fresh veggies, or large pieces of cooked veggies. I try to cook low calorie, our youngest son needs high calorie foods. On top of all the preferences, we are very busy. My husband has two jobs, I teach music lessons part time and home school our two oldest children. Gasp. I know. It wasn't my plan, but our youngest son has special needs and we end up traveling several times a month for appointments. Add to that his therapy sessions and it seemed best for everyone if I home schooled. For now.
For those of you who don't know, our youngest son was diagnosed with William's Syndrome about two years ago, when he was eight months old.
Before that we just knew he wasn't growing like he should (he was 3 lbs when he was born), and never really seemed like he was thriving like a healthy baby should. He began losing weight and ended up in the hospital with a feeding tube. His kidneys were shutting down. We found out that it was because of the William's Syndrome. Kids sometimes have a hard time processing calcium, and his was extreme. Luckily it was quickly taken care of, but the long-term result of this strain on his kidneys, plus the parade of follow ups and blood work, and his existing other complications (heart murmur, etc.) means we have a lot of stuff going on. He is doing much better now, he is still behind, not walking or talking yet, but making progress. He is off all meds and special formulas, but while many of us try to limit fats and increase veggies and whole grains, he needs a high concentration of calories in his diet. He eats more if I make things he likes, like anything with gravy. Fortunately, for me, this meal is an all-around favorite. Not a hint of whining, and all I need is a slight adulteration to fatten it up for baby Gavin-a splash of heavy cream. But then, of course, I am tempted to have some.

Chicken and Dumplings

For the chicken-you can use leftovers from a home-cooked or store-bought roasted chicken, or you can cook up some chicken thighs with salt and pepper, or even chicken breast. Shred the meat

3 cups shredded chicken, set aside
4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup each, finely diced carrots, celery, and onion
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup white wine or chicken stock
1 sprig thyme
8 cups chicken stock
2 cups carrots, cut in rounds

For the dumplings:

3 cups flour
3/4 cup minced mixed fresh herbs and celery leaves (if you have them. If not, by all means make it without!)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups cold buttermilk

Lemon, cut into six wedges
Chopped parsley, for garnish
Cheddar cheese, for serving

Whisk the flour, herb mixture, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until sandy. Stir in buttermilk.
Turn out onto a floured piece of parchment paper or counter. Shape into 1-inch balls. Cover with plastic wrap.

Make the soup: Melt the butter in a large, wide pot over medium heat. Add the mirepoix (mixture of carrots, onions, and celery) and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Gradually add the wine or stock, and stir until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add the remaining stock, stirring, and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Add the sliced carrots, cover and cook 5 minutes.
Stir in the meat and add the dumplings in a single layer. Cover and simmer until the dumplings are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Ladle into bowls; Squeeze a wedge of lemon over each bowl, top with parsley and grated cheese if desired.


  1. Laurel,
    I bow to you. What triumphs in your life! The ability you have to do as much as you do is amazing. YOur youngest son is adorable. With over 30 years in public education, I have never heard of this disease. It must be rare. Having older siblings is definitely a blessing for Gavin as he has role models to aspire to... and a busy mom to keep up to! Home schooling is no easy chore. Thanks for putting up the badge and cannot wait to read about your cheese when you make it! I hope the family likes it! Chicken and Dumplings was definitely one of my grandmother's staples and it always reminds me of her when I make it.

    1. You are very kind! Having a supportive family really makes a difference.


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