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MICHAEL SYMON Chicken & Bread Dumplings

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Your family will go crazy for these Chicken & Bread Dumplings!

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 carrots (peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick on the bias)
1 bulb celery root (peeled and diced)
1 yellow onion (peeled and diced)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 whole chicken (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly ground)
1 loaf stale French bread (about 1 pound, cut into 1-inch cubes)
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
3 eggs
1 tablespoon fresh parsley (finely chopped)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

In a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, add the butter and place over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery root, onion and garlic, and a large pinch of salt. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with thyme and bay leaves. Add the whole chicken to pot and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool. Once cool enough to handle, pick off the meat and shred into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
For the Dumplings: in a medium saucepan, combine the milk, nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, add the stale bread cubes and the warm milk mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir until the liquid has absorbed. Let soak for 10 minutes. Add the breadcrumbs and eggs. Mix to combine and to make a thick dough. (Use more breadcrumbs or flour if the dough is too wet.)
Bring the soup to a boil. Wet your hands and form the dough into eight dumplings the size of a tangerine (or use an ice cream scoop). Gently drop dumplings into the soup. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the dumplings float to the surface and are cooked through, about 10-15 minutes.
Add the chicken meat and parsley to the soup; stir carefully and divide among warm bowls.
Helpful Tips:
– If you don’t have stale bread, but a loaf of bread and cut into cubes. Place in a 300ºF oven until dry, about 12 minutes. Set aside to cool.
– If the dumpling falls apart in the boiling water, then the dough is too wet. Add some dry breadcrumbs to the mixture to help.
– Add tarragon or your favorite herbs and vegetables to the soup.

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