It is fall and its the time we start craving hearty soups and stews. This is a classic favorite made simpler by using the slow cooker. Okay, the temperatures are more moderate and we don’t mind heating up the kitchen, but using a slow cooker means you have the ability to enjoy the big game with everyone else, plus serving and clean up are so much easier.
Chicken and dumplings is associated with the Deep South and is also common in the Midwestern states. In Canada it is said to have developed during the Great Depression.
Simply put, it is chicken cooked in water or broth and topped with a dough. Usually the top layer is a biscuit made from flour, shortening and a liquid (stock, milk, etc.), rolled into a ball or pressed flat. Early versions show this as a cornmeal dumpling. The herbs can vary like dill, parsley, thyme, and vegetables are at the cook’s choice.
This version uses canned cream soup, but you can certainly make your own from a roux. The same is true for the broth. Canned is easy but if you make your own, by all means use that.
Instead of shredding the chicken after it is cooked, you could also simply use chunks and eliminate that step.
There can be a drawback in that the bottoms of the biscuits are a little doughy. They are fully cooked, but the texture may be offputting. A solution might be to flatten the dough or to add the biscuits earlier in the cooking stage.
1 onion, chopped
1 1/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken
1 tsp. dried oregano or poultry seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
2 (10.5-oz.) cans cream of chicken soup, cream of celery soup, or both
2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 c. frozen peas, thawed
1 or 2 cloves garlic (depending on your preference), minced or grated
1 (16.3-oz.) can refrigerated biscuits
Scatter onion and chopped carrots in the bottom of a large slow cooker then top with chicken. Season with oregano, salt, and pepper.
Pour soup and broth over chicken, then add thyme and bay leaf. Cover and cook on High until the chicken is cooked through, about 3 hours.
Discard bay leaf and thyme stems, then shred chicken with two forks. Stir in celery, peas, and garlic. Cut or tear biscuits into small bite-sized pieces then stir into chicken mixture. Spoon liquid over any biscuits at the top.
Cook on High until vegetables are tender and biscuits are cooked through, stirring every 30 minutes, about 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes more.