According to Wikipedia, Chicken and Dumplings were first introduced in the early 17th century. "Dumpling. A term of uncertain origin which first appeared in print at the beginning of the 17th century, although the object it denotes--a small and usually globular mass of boiled or steamed dough--no doubt existed long before that." Later appearances of the "dumpling" appear in many varied cultures in and around the world.
Chicken and Dumplings is comfort food, plain and simple. It's made almost the same as chicken noodle soup - minus the noodles - and a little thicker.
I take the traditional and add my own spin on it. Why? Because I can. :) Don't be afraid to shake up the old and make it new. You might be surprised what you create!
Take a whole chicken and cut it in half. That's right. Just cut it straight through with a big ol butcher knife. If you *want* to take the cheater's method, you can buy your pieces already cut up, or use boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
Put the chicken in a pot.
Cut up one leek and put it in the pot too. Add some roughly cut up carrots, some celery stalks, a bay leaf, a couple cloves of garlic, salt and black peppercorns. Bring this to a boil then reduce heat to medium. Cover the pot and let cook for about 1/2 hour.
After that time, pull out the chicken and put in a bowl. Let it cool so you can pull it apart without burning the tips of your fingers off (like I did with mine because I wasn't patient enough to wait for it to cool).
Strain the broth and hold to the side.
Now to make up the dumplings. In a bowl put 2 cups flour, 1 Tbsp baking powder, 1 1/4 tsp salt and 1 tsp thyme. Mix together with a fork.
Put the dough on some saran and wrap up well. Let sit while you make up the rest of the chicken and dumplings.
Chop up another leak, making the slices thin.
I use this to substitute onion because I don't want an overpowering onion taste in this dish.
Cut one lemon in half and squeeze it into the pot. This will give the dish a nice flavor in contract to the chicken and veggies.
Sometime before this point, shred up that chicken that you pulled out of the pot. You want to add it back to the pot now.
Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into long strips going one way, and then at an angle the other direction to make "diamond" shapes. I like this better than plain old rectangles because in my opinion, it's prettier. :)
They'll start pillowing up a bit by the time you get them all added. Stir with a wooden spoon and cover the pot with a lid. Let continue boiling for 5 minutes.
In a bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups cream and 3 Tbsp cornstarch. Mix well with a whisk or fork to get rid of all the lumps. Pour this into the soup and stir. It will begin to thicken up.
Once it's thickened, re-season with salt and pepper according to your own taste. Ladle into bowls and serve.