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New Southern Chicken and Herb Dumplings

New Southern Chicken and Herb Dumplings

Serves: 8

Hands On Time: 

Total Time: 


Southern Chicken
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed (about 3 breasts)
2 quarts (8 cups) homemade or reduced-fat low-sodium chicken stock
3 sprigs fresh parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 fresh bay leaf
5 black peppercorns

Herb Dumplings 
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons fresh finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
Coarse salt
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch cubes
10 ounces spinach
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional


To make the chicken: Place chicken in a large saucepan; add chicken stock to cover. Place the parsley, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns in a piece of cheesecloth. Tie with a piece of cotton twine to make a bouquet garni. Add the bouquet garni to the stock.

Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Skimming foam off occasionally, cook until the chicken is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. (If the stock is cloudy, don't worry; it's simply protein clarified from the stock. Just ignore it or strain it out.)

Reserving the stock, transfer the chicken to a warm plate. Cover and set aside.

To make the dumplings: In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, cheese, baking powder, parsley and 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt. In a small saucepan, heat milk and butter to a simmer; season with freshly ground black pepper. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.

In a second pot heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots and sweet potatoes. Cook until the onions are clear and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the reserved stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer. Using a small scoop, drop the dough about 1 tablespoon at a time into the simmering stock. Cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through and vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Add the reserved chicken and cook just until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach; cover and continue cooking for an additional 30 to 45 seconds. Add optional red pepper flakes. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Ladle into shallow bowls and garnish with additional cheese; serve immediately.


Per serving, based on 6: 542 calories (percent of calories from fat, 20), 58 grams protein, 49 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 12 grams fat (5 grams saturated), 108 milligrams cholesterol, 1,375 milligrams sodium.

About the recipe

"Chicken and dumplings is old-fashioned comfort food, but that doesn't mean we can't mix things up, " said chef Virginia Willis.

"In my chef-inspired version, we simmer the chicken with a flavoring sachet known as a bouquet garni and update it with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. The addition of the sweet potato and spinach gives this typically pale dish a real burst of color and flavor. Finally, the dumplings are given a little pizazz with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and herbs."