This is the last of the three recipes in my "1 Chicken, 3 Meals" series. It's Steamed Dumplings with Creamy Chicken Gravy.
This recipe is so much trouble, but it is so worth the trouble.
This is one of three ways I make Chicken & Dumplings. I usually make a clear (no milk) chicken gravy and either drop dumplings into the simmering broth or make a rolled-out dough that I cut into squares like thick noodles and stir into the broth. Those recipes are fairly easy to make and yield some good-tasting comfort food.
This recipe, though, is supreme comfort food. The gravy is thick and creamy, with lots of chicken, carrots and celery. The curry-flavored dumplings are light and fluffy. The combination is guaranteed to cure whatever ails you.
I learned to make this recipe a few years back when I worked for a caterer. I had to scale it down some (ok, a lot) and it's a little tricky to make in a home kitchen where I don't have a perforated steam table pan. I've rigged something using a wide skillet, a perforated pizza pan and a domed lid.
I admit, the dumplings are a lot of trouble, so I make them, I double the recipe and freeze the extra. They aren't quite as fluffy when they thaw, but they still taste great.
By the way, thinned down with some extra milk, the gravy portion of this recipe makes a really good cream of chicken soup.
Steamed Dumplings with Creamy Chicken Gravy
2 quarts chicken broth (I used the broth I made from the Beer Can Chicken bones)
Chicken base or bouillon, salt and pepper to taste
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 medium ribs celery, sliced (I didn't have any this time)
8 ounces half-and-half cream or evaporated milk (can use low-fat evap.)
3 to 4 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken
1 stick butter
3/4 cup flour
Pour broth into a large Dutch oven. Season to taste with chicken base or bouillon, salt and pepper. Add sliced carrots and celery. Bring to a boil, then simmer until vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile make a roux by melting butter in a small saucepan. Stir in flour. Cook and stir until mixture is smooth and gives off a nutty aroma, about 3 minutes. Do not let mixture brown.
When vegetables in broth are tender, stir in cooked chicken and half-and-half cream. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Whisk in roux, a heaping tablespoon at a time, until mixture is smooth and thickened. You will likely need to use entire amount of roux. If gravy is too thick, thin will a small amount of milk. If it is too thin, simmer, stirring often, until desired consistency.
Cover and set aside until ready to serve, keeping mixture warm by occasional turning the burner under it on low for a few minutes at a time. Be careful not to scorch gravy. You could also transfer mixture to a slow cooker, using the Low or Keep Warm setting.
3-1/2 cups biscuit mix (Bisquick or equivalent, or homemade)
2 eggs, beaten
1-1/2 teaspoons chicken base or granulated chicken bouillon
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon white pepper (can use black pepper if you like)
1 Tablespoons dried parsley flakes (for color)
1 to 1-1/4 cups milk
Bring 2 quarts water to a rolling boil in a deep, wide fry pan. Cover pan with a perforated pizza pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Cover pan with domed lid or metal mixing bowl.
Combine all dumpling ingredients and mix just until all ingredients are moistened and well-combined. Using a 1/4-cup capacity ice cream scoop, scoop dumplings onto pizza pan. Cover with domed lid and cook for about 7 to 7-1/2 minutes.
Dumplings should rise to about the size of a tennis ball. Tops of dumplings should have a crackled appearance.Break one dumpling apart. If still wet inside, press back together and return to steamer. Check again after 2 minutes. Dumpling should be tender, but dry inside. Remove dumplings to a plate using a spatula. Adjust timing of additional batches accordingly.
Spoon warm chicken gravy over hot dumplings and serve immediately.
Makes about 10 cups of chicken gravy and approximately 18 dumplings. Together they make 9 to 12 servings