A simple chicken soup becomes something special when you add homemade dumplings to the mix. Bonus: your slow cooker does most of the work.
Is it still okay to use a slow cooker? I feel a bit antiquated even writing the words “slow cooker” in the age of the Instant Pot, but this is where I’m at with my life. Antiquated.
I didn’t realize I felt so old until last night when a college friend shared a picture of us 20 years ago. Twenty.years.ago. Or, as she put it on the eve of her 40th birthday, a “half a lifetime ago”.
Originally, I had something sappy about life and its daily tiny losses (and to be fair, daily tiny gifts) that shape a life written here. Then I read this article about food blogs and deleted it all. Just get to the soup already!
A quick chicken and dumplings soup was one of the first recipes I shared here. Not so much because it was great, but because it was one of the first recipes I made often when I first started cooking.
The recipe faked the dumplings by asking you to pinch off a bit of dough from a tube of biscuits into the soup. Cringeworthy.
But hey, you cook and you learn.
Making chicken and dumplings in the slow cooker requires a good chunk of time. If you want to enjoy this soup for lunch, you’ll need to start it at breakfast.
That said, aside from the 15 minutes or so that you’ll spend at the stove at the start, and a quick few minutes shredding chicken and whipping up the dumplings near the end, this soup is entirely low maintenance.
Chicken and dumplings soup will probably never replace my go-to chicken soup. That one – with rotisserie chicken, spinach, and pearl couscous – it just too easy to pull together for a quick lunch.
This one is different. It’s at the top of my list for days when I have time to let the good stuff simmer.
When you have some time on your hands some chilly weekend, break out your slow cooker. It may be old-fashioned, but it will cook one heck of a chicken and dumplings soup. Enjoy!
For the soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped carrots (roughly 3 carrots)
- 1 cup chopped celery (roughly 2 stalks)
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow or white onion
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 7 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper, to taste
For the dumplings
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic and cook until the vegetables soften, about 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of flour over the vegetables and cook a minute or two more.
- Transfer this mixture to a slow cooker and add the broth, chicken breasts, bay leaves, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours.
- When the 4 hours have passed, fish out the bay leaves and chicken breasts. Discard the bay leaves. Use two forks to pull against and shred the chicken, then return it to the slow cooker with the rest of the soup.
- Now it's time to prepare the dumplings. Add the flour, baking powder, chives, salt, and pepper to a large bowl and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and chicken broth.
- Slowly pour this liquid mixture into the large bowl of dry ingredients and stir until just combined. The dough will be thick.
- Drop a teaspoon of dough into the soup (don't overdo it here - the dumplings will expand!). Repeat until you have added all of the dough to the soup.
- Allow the soup to cook in the slow cooker with the lid off for an additional 30 minutes. The dumplings will float to the surface as they cook through.
- If desired, garnish with additional chopped chives before serving.
The chicken might be so tender that it falls apart as you take it out of the slow cooker. If you have them, a pair of tongs are helpful for getting the chicken breasts out in one piece.
Recipe adapted from Skinnytaste: fast and slow by Gina Homolka.