Quick Rotisserie Chicken and Dumplings
Arguably one of the main reasons to get a Sam’s Club or Costco membership is for their insanely delicious and crazy cheap rotisserie chicken! Let this recipe be your motivation to finally join the club!
Our quick chicken and dumplings recipe is comforting and evokes memories of something your grandmother once made, however, this recipe takes less than half the time!
Breaking Down the Ingredients
So many recipes start with an aromatic mixture of veggies referred to as mirepoix. This chicken and dumplings recipe is no exception! Mirepoix is the French term for the combination of carrots, celery and onion. This fragrant and tasty trio performs subtly in the background while simultaneously reinforcing and enhancing the overall flavor of the final dish.
Mirepoix lends itself beautifly to countless dishes whether you sweat it, brown it, or simmer it. No matter which way you cook it, in most cases, it matters how you cut it. All components of your mirepoix should be cut into consistent size pieces that compliment the cooking time of the dish. As a rule of thumb, the longer the cooking time the larger and thicker the vegetable cuts can be. The shorter the cooking time, the smaller and thinner they should be. For example, our quick chicken and dumplings cook for less than an hour so a small dice works perfectly here.
Another key component of the dish and one of the many modern-day miracles found in the supermarket today is boxed chicken stock. The already prepared stock along with the rotisserie chicken truly makes this recipe quick and easy. Traditional homemade stocks can take countless hours to make, and if you have the time they’re worth it and incredibly delicious. You may have noticed that grocery stores carry chicken stock and chicken broth. Both will work for this chicken and dumplings recipe, but the difference between the two comes down to stock being made from simmering bones, and broth is made from simmering meat. The meat makes broths somewhat more flavor than stocks, but the bones contain gelatin and therefore make stocks more viscous than broths.
The creamy luscious part of this dish comes in the form of cream cheese. It adds a velvety richness that pushes this chicken and dumplings over the edge and into that comfort food zone.
Thickening the Sauce
There are several ways to tighten up or thicken soups, stocks, stews, and sauces. You can use anything from a roux to a slurry, and even a mixture of egg yolks and cream referred to as a liaison to thicken them. It all depends on the recipe and the goal of what the final dish should be. For example, when making a gumbo, a dark roux is essential. It’s achieved by cooking the flour and butter together for an extended period of time to achieve that dark rich chocolate brown color. In turn, that gives the gumbo a unique depth of flavor that wouldn’t otherwise be achievable.
For our chicken and dumplings recipe, we are using a slurry. A slurry is simply pure starch mixed with cold water. There are many different starch options on the market to choose from. You can find anything from corn starch to arrowroot, cassava flour, potato starch, tapioca, and more.
There are also many benefits to thickening with slurries. Pure starches, like corn starch, have a higher degree of thickening power than flour, they don’t need to be cooked for an extended period of time the way a roux does, and if you’re looking for a gluten-free way to increase the viscosity of a liquid, a slurry is the way to go!
When you’re making your slurry, it should resemble the consistency of heavy cream. That’s how you know the ratio of starch to water is correct. Be sure to thoroughly stir the slurry before adding it to your dish. If it’s not used right away the starch will separate from the water and sit at the bottom of the container. If this happens, no big deal! Just be sure to mix it again rigorously before using it.
Another important thing to remember when working with a slurry is that it should be added to a simmering liquid. This is important because when added to a simmering liquid the slurry will rapidly thicken making the viscosity obvious and easily controllable. Meaning that if you feel the liquid is still too thin or too thick you can adjust it accordingly on the spot to achieve the desired consistency. You will also want to make sure you’re continually stirring as you add the slurry to the dish to avoid any lumps and ensure a smooth final product.
Dumplings can represent a variety of things to many different people. Every nationality has its own method of preparing and cooking them. There are dumplings made of batters, doughs, bread, and more. They can also be cooked in a multitude of different ways from fried, steamed, poached, baked, or even simmered in a soup.
For this recipe, these would be referred to as biscuit dumplings. The ingredients and methodology for incorporating everything together are reminiscent of biscuits. It’s important to not over-mix the dough or the dumplings could turn out tough and heavy instead of light and airy.
To encourage your dumplings not to stick when forming them and placing them atop your chicken mixture, dip your spoon into hot water in between creating each dumpling and they’ll slide off incredibly easily. Using a spoon to dispense the dumplings will also ensure they’re all the same size for perfect portion control and even cooking.
Cooking & Serving
Since this recipe uses a single skillet from start to finish, you’ll save on time and on dishes! Bake uncovered for 40 - 45 minutes in the center of the oven until the dumplings are puffed and golden. If you find that some of the dumplings are browning more on one side than the other, be sure to rotate the pan halfway through the baking process. Once your chicken and dumplings come out of the oven and your house smells heavenly, serve it as-is in its skillet and garnish with a smattering of fresh parsley, coarse sea salt, and enjoy!