chicken and dumplings



Wait, that’s not how it goes, is it?

I think I just need a redo of my weekend, so thank goodness it’s Monday (and I’m one day closer to next weekend).  I learned a lot of valuable lessons this weekend…

  • I learned that my dutch oven will not retain moisture as well as my crockpot, so I should definitely use more liquid (or check the liquid) when I’m using it.
  • I learned to always check that my wallet is actually in my purse before I leave the house.
  • I learned to make sure that I turn the stovetop off before setting a tray full of treats down on top of the stove to cool and walking away.
  • I learned that not all hair places are created equal, and that there is a reason ladies spend so much to get their hair done. And that it’s not always worth it to save a few pennies by going somewhere cheaper.
  • I learned just how little sleep I can get and still be relatively functional. Or how unfunctional I am without sleep (hence #1 and 2 above)
  • I also learned that ricotta gnocchi is amazing.  Lighter, tastier, and much less fussy than its potato-y cousin.

I’d never had ricotta gnocchi, but I know how badly potato gnocchi can go horribly wrong. It can be tasteless, pasty, and heavy. Chicken and “dumplings” has a pretty big error ratio as well. Those “dumplings” can end up being dry biscuits, gooey balls of dough, or even just thick noodles, but this was different. The ricotta gnocchi came out light and fluffy – like little cloud-like pillows floating in rich, hearty chicken broth… amazing.

So if you’re looking for something warm and comforting, look no further. This new take on chicken and dumplings is just what you need. It’s like a big, warm hug … in food form.

I found the original recipe in Bon Appetit, but modified it so that I could use chicken breast instead of thigh and (more importantly) so that I didn’t have to go the store… so leeks became onions, parsnips became, well, nonexistent, and the rest is more or less the same. The recipe makes a ton of gnocchi. A ton. And trust me, you’ll want to use this stuff later on… I have a bag full in my freezer right now. Maybe I’ll cook some for dinner tonight…

Chicken and Dumplings

[ Printable Recipe ]


  • 1 pound ricotta
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour plus more
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • 1 1/4 cups finely grated Parmesan
  • 3/4 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

Chicken and Gravy

  • 10 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • Shaved Parmesan (I didn’t use it, but no biggie)


  1. Gently mix ricotta, 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. flour, egg, Parmesan, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl just to blend (do not overwork). Form dough into a ball (it will be sticky); wrap in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Place dough on a lightly floured work surface. Divide dough into 4 equal portions and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Using your hands, roll 1 portion into a 1/2″-diameter rope; cut crosswise into 1/2″-thick pieces. Lightly dust gnocchi with flour and transfer to pre-pared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining portions of dough. Cover gnocchi with a kitchen towel and chill until ready to cook. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 months ahead. Freeze on sheets, then store, frozen, in an airtight container.

Chicken and Gravy

  1. Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Add chicken; reduce heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until chicken is tender and cooked through, 20–30 minutes. Remove chicken; let cool slightly and shred into bite-size pieces. Bring broth to a boil and cook until reduced to 8 cups, about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour until smooth and cook, whisking constantly, until roux is pale beige in color, about 15 minutes (do not brown).
  3. Scrape roux into simmering broth; whisk until thickened and broth coats the back of a spoon. Reduce heat to low and add vegetables. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add shredded chicken and herbs. Season with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Chill, uncovered, until cold; cover and keep chilled. Rewarm before serving.
  4. Cook gnocchi in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until gnocchi float to the surface, about 2 minutes (slightly longer if frozen). Using a slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to bowls, dividing equally. Ladle chicken and vegetables with gravy over. Season with pepper and top with Parmesan.

[ Adapted from Bon Appetit, February 2012 ]