Chicken and dumplings is the ultimate soul-warming dish. Vegetables and chicken are smothered in a silky velouté sauce and topped with delicious, pillowy dumplings.
Place the chicken into a suitable-sized pot and cover with cold water. Blanch the chicken by bringing it to a gentle boil. Skim off any impurities. Drain the murky water and cover again with clean, cold water. Bring to a simmer and skim off any impurities that rise to the surface.
Add the mirepoix (diced onion, carrots and celery), followed by the salt. Add the bouquet garni (bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns, garlic (cut in half crosswise) and parsley).
Simmer the broth for about 45 minutes to one hour, or until the chicken has just cooked through. Remove the legs from the broth. Once cool enough to handle, remove the chicken from the bones. Set the meat aside.
Return the bones to the pot and simmer for another 30 minutes to an hour to extract the flavor. Note: While the broth is cooking, you can prepare your mise en place for Step 2. Once done, remove and discard the solids. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth and place over an ice bath to cool.
First preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius).
To prepare your mise en place, cut the dark green part off of the leeks. Slice in half and wash thoroughly. Slice the leeks into 1/4" pieces. Cut the carrots and celery into medium dice. Note: You should have roughly 1 to 1 1/2 cups of each. Mince the garlic.
Measure out the butter and flour. Note: The amount of flour used will produce a relatively thick sauce; however, if you want the sauce to be really thick, you can use up to 18 tbsp of flour. The roux will just be very thick.
Gather the bay leaves and thyme. Set aside.
Once the broth is cool, you can begin to make the sauce.
To make the sauce, heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium to medium-low heat. Add the butter, followed by the celery, carrots, leeks and a pinch of salt. Sweat until the leeks are translucent, about 10 minutes or so. Once softened, add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
Singer with the flour to make a roux. Stir to combine. Temper in the cold broth a bit at a time. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Add the bay leaves and thyme and let cook for about 10 to 15 minutes to cook off any starchy flavor. Next, add the cream and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the reserved chicken pieces and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, prepare the dumpling mixture (see Step 3).
To prepare the dumpling mixture, finely mince the green onions.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt together.
In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Add a bit of the buttermilk and blend again before adding the rest. Once fully mixed, add the minced green onions and blend to fully combine.
Form a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients over top. Quickly but gently fold the ingredients together until the flour is just moistened. Do not overmix.
Once the chicken has cooked for about 10 minutes, add the peas and continue to cook for about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the cream.
Using 2 spoons, drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the dumpling mixture into the hot sauce. The dumplings should cover the surface of the pot.
Cover and place into the oven for about 15 minutes to poach the dumplings. Once done, the dumplings should be puffy and firm to the touch.
To serve, spoon some of the chicken into a warmed bowl and top with one or two of the delicious dumplings.