JJ’s Chicken and Dumplings Soup

Chicken & DumplingsMy Lebanese grandmother (Sittie is what us grandkids called her) used to make, the most delicious and amazing chicken and dumpling soup. She was 100% Lebanese but born and raised in Texas so her cooking naturally involved a lot of fusions, before “fusion cuisine” was ever trendy. This dish of hers however, is simply a southern classic that we all loved. Her Chicken and Dumpling Soup had so much depth and flavor, and the broth was rustic yet rich and hearty. The dumplings perfectly plump and always tender to the bite. I have no idea where she learned to make it and I’ve never had anything like hers to this day. I’ve had other people swear they can make the best chicken and dumplings but it’s never lived up to my Sittie’s.

I never did get her recipe but I loved her chicken and dumplings so much that as an adult I’ve been experimenting and doing my own R and D in hopes of recreating something worthy of my Sittie’s Soup. I’ve attempted chicken and dumplings many of times and had decent results but still not the magic of my beautiful Sittie’s. Over time, as I’ve gained more culinary experience and with some trial and error, I believe I’ve come up with a recipe similar enough to hers. It’s not an exact match but it is damn good and my comfort food taste buds are reminded of a time long ago, when they would be immersed in a warm velvety bath of comfort.

A couple of things I will suggest not to do from my own experiments: Don’t use pre-made dough, it’s not as good as fresh dough, and make homemade chicken stock while you make the soup.

Ingredients: chicken breast (with skin and bone), carrots, celery, white onion, garlic, black peppercorn, olive oil. For the biscuit dough: flour, backing powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, butter, milk. (or a biscuit mix)

Recipe for dough-

in a mixing bowl add; 2 cups all purpose flour, 1 tBls. baking powder, 2 tSp. sugar, 1/2 tSp baking soda, 1/2 cup of softened butter. stir together until mixture looks like crumbles. make a well in center and add 2/3 cup of milk. stir together until dough clings together. turn out on a floured surface. knead dough a few times, leave in a ball covered with thin towel to rest.

  1. heat a dutch oven over high heat. salt and pepper tops of chicken breasts. place in hot pot, season side down. let the chicken sear for about 5-10 min. on each side until it is golden brown.
  2. for the stock: chop the bottom and tops off celery and place in a big bowl. rough chop a few carrots and place in the bowl. chop the bottom and top off white onion and place in the bowl. keep a few stalks of celery and the rest of the onion for the soup.
  3. add prepped veggies into the pot, cover with water,add 1 tBls. of black peppercorn, 2 tBls. of salt and about 6 garlic cloves, skin and all. let it come up to a boil and cook for about 20-30 minutes.
  4. pull out chicken and set aside. set a big bowl in the sink and a strainer inside that. slowly pour stock into strainer then remove strainer shaking excess liquid out over bowl.
  5. in the same pot, heat over medium heat. dice onion, drizzle pot w/olive oil and toss onions in. finely chop celery and toss in pot. finely chop a few garlic cloves, toss in pot.
  6. remove chicken from bone, place meat on cutting board and with two forks shred chicken. place chicken back in pot and cover with reserved stock. turn heat down to low.
  7. biscuit dough: lightly flour surface and pat dough out. i pat my dough out pretty thin. then cut into squares. start dropping in soup. i used about as much dough as i did chicken. I like a lot of dumplings!
  8. let it simmer for about 15 minutes more. dumplings will float to top. All done!

pot of chicken and dumplings

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