Old Fashioned comfort food straight from the farm. Bone-in, skin-on chicken gives a great depth of flavor and reserved chicken fat is used to flavor the dumplings too.
4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (split breasts cut in half, drumsticks, and/or thighs), fat trimmed off
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 celery ribs, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 medium onion
6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
5 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried
2 bay leaves
1 cup frozen peas
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons reserved chicken fat or unsalted butter
For the stew: Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season it generously with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Turn the heat to medium and brown half of the chicken on both sides, 6 to 8 minutes per side. You can turn the heat up to medium high if the chicken isn't browning fast enough but if the bottom of your dutch oven begins to scorch, turn the heat back down. Transfer the chicken to a plate, leaving the fat in the pot. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
Pour off any chicken fat and reserve it for later. Add the butter, carrots, celeryk, onion, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the broth, milk, and add the thyme and bay leaves and whisk to incorporate, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom.
Nestle the chicken, along with any accumulated juice into the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked and tender, about 20 minutes for the breasts (165 degrees) or 1 hour for the dark meat (175 degrees). If using both types, simmer the thighs and drumsticks for 40 minutes before adding the breasts.
Transfer the chicken to a plate to cool. If you divide each piece into two it will cool quickly. When it's cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and shred it into bite-sized pieces; add the shredded chicken into the pot and discard the skin and bones. Remove and discard the bay laves. Skim as much fat as possible off the surface of the broth with a large spoon. This step is important~ the dumplings will be cooking at the surface and you don't want excess chicken fat baking into the dumplings. (At this point the stew can be cooled completely and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 24 hours. The fat will solidify and it's extra easy to remove this way. Re-heat over medium low heat.)
For the Dumplings: Stir the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Microwave the milk and reserved chicken fat in a microwave-safe bowl until just warm (do not over heat), about 1 minute. Stir the warmed milk mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until incorporated and smooth.
Return the stew to a simmer, stir in the peas and parsley, and taste it. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. (This stew has always needed salt when I make it~ make sure you add salt before adding the dumpling dough.) Using a melon baller or small spoons sprayed with non-stick spray, scoop and drop balls of dough into the stew. Leave 1/4 inch of space around each dumpling until there's no more room. You may have excess dough depending on the size of your dutch oven or pot. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the dumplings have doubled in size, about 13 to 15 minutes. Serve.
Recipe by The Goldilocks Kitchen at https://goldilockskitchen.com/2013/10/old-fashioned-chicken-dumplings.html