Chicken stew with dumplings, is a wonderfully nostalgic dish to make on a chilly evening as it is a classic, the aromas bringing back memories of childhood.
The nutritious all-in-one meal can easily be scaled to accommodate the number of people you are planning on feeding, and can be made in a Dutch oven over a slow fire, or on a stove.
The stock can be store-bought in liquid or powder form, which is very convenient when out camping, or it can be home-made.
If you don’t have a recipe for homemade stock, try this one.
Store-bought stock tends to be quite high in salt and obviously has preservatives so your healthiest stock option is to make your own.
For the stew you can play around with the ingredients substituting various vegetables for the classic combination of carrots, peas and celery, depending on what you have available in your survival garden.
Butternut, sweet potatoes, and green beans would work well, while aubergine will bring a rich creaminess to the mix. When I made this dish I used red peppers instead of celery, as that is what I had on hand.
Now for the dumplings – you want them to be light and fluffy, not rock hard balls of dough. My mother taught me that the less you handle the dough the lighter it will be.
When making scones, she emphasized a light touch and not over-mixing.
Since this is a survival recipe I found that instead of shaping the dough with an ice cream scoop, or rolling it into balls between floured hands, the simplest and fastest way is to take a dessert spoon of the dough that holds its shape, and gently ease it onto the top of the simmering stew.
Continue until all the dough has been used up, then put on the lid immediately.
I find a glass lid very useful as you can watch the dumplings rise without having to remove the lid to check, as removing the lid can make them go flat.
The quantity of dough for this recipe resulted in 8 decent size dumplings – enough for two per person as this stew is for 4 people.
I used a plain flour for these dumplings with a tablespoon of cornmeal added, and they were very soft, as I had run out of cake flour which one generally uses for a light dumpling.
Don’t try strong bread flours or whole wheat flours as you may get tough dumplings.
Chicken and Dumplings Recipe
- 1 ½ lbs chicken boneless thigh or breast cut into pieces of around 1 inch by 1 inch, or wings – whatever you have at hand
- 1 ½ pint stock homemade or store bought
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 medium onion
- 2 carrots
- 1 cup peas fresh or frozen
- 2 sticks celery medium size
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ cup milk
- 1 tablespoon sunflower or coconut oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon corn flour
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- ½ cup milk
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped herbs can include parsley, chives, oregano, and a little rosemary
- Place a skillet on a stove plate set to medium high, add the oil and sauté the chicken pieces for around 3 minutes, then turn and sauté the other side for 3 minutes.
- Remove chicken and place in stew pot or Dutch oven.
- Add the carrot coins, chopped onion and garlic and cumin to the skillet juices and stir fry until fragrant and translucent – this should take around 5 minutes.
- Add carrot, onion, garlic mix to chicken. Don’t wash the skillet but reserve it for making the roux to thicken the chicken stew as soon as you have the stew over the fire or on the stove.
- To the stew pot add the celery cut into ½ inch pieces and 3/4 pint of the stock and place on medium high heat to bring to the boil.
- While the stew is coming to the boil, add the butter to the skillet allowing it to melt and start to bubble.
- Tip in the flour and stir to incorporate the flour in the butter.
- Allow to cook for 2 minutes, then add a little of the reserved ¾ pint of chicken stock and stir to make sure there are no lumps – keep adding the stock and stirring in between additions until you have a smooth paste, and the stock is all used up.
- By this time the pot with chicken should have come to the boil, so turn down the heat to medium low and add the sauce you have just made, the peas and chopped parsley and allow to simmer with the lid on for 10 minutes while you make the dumplings.
- In a bowl combine the cake flour (it gives a lighter dumpling than all-purpose flour) baking powder, the tablespoon of corn flour and optional chopped herbs.
- In a jug stir the melted butter into the milk.
- Add the liquid in the jug to the dry ingredients and mix to just combine.
- For a survival recipe I just take spoonfuls of the mix and gently float them onto the stew mix. This dumpling recipe made 8 decent size dumplings – enough to allow two per person.
- Put the lid on the stew and allow to cook on a simmer for about twenty minutes. You should see the dumplings puff up as they rise. Before serving, test the dumplings are done, by removing one and cutting in half. It should be super soft, moist on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
Traveler, photographer, writer. I’m eternally curious, in love with the natural world. How people can survive in harmony with nature has fueled my food safety and survival gardening practices.
At the age of 12, I found a newspaper advertisement for a 155-acre farm at a really good price and showed my parents one Sunday morning. They bought it and I happily started planting vegetables, peanuts, maize and keeping bees with the help of the local labor.
Once I married wherever we moved it was all about planting food, keeping chickens and ducks, permaculture and creating micro-climates. I learned how to build wooden cabins and outdoor furniture from pallets, and baked and cooked home-grown produce, developing recipes as I went along.