Chicken and dumplings are cozy and feel-good, thanks to extra vegetables

There is a lot of flexibility with this kind of dish — I see it as an opportunity to make use of whatever is in your refrigerator. You could certainly sub in parsley, rosemary, sage or dill, of course, for the thyme, or use a different vegetable such as zucchini or broccoli and/or a leafy green such as kale, collards or spinach instead of the green beans.

Once the stew is ready and bubbling hot, the dumpling batter — a simple mix of whole-wheat flour, baking powder, buttermilk and olive oil — is dolloped on top, then the pot is covered so the batter can cook in the accumulated steam. A few minutes later, the dumplings become fluffy, moist and tender, adding a homey heartiness to what is already a pot of feel-good food.

As far as I am concerned, doubling up on that kind of goodness is never a bad idea.

  • 3 bone-in chicken breast halves (about 1 3/4 pounds total), skin removed
  • 1 medium yellow onion (about 8 ounces), diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 large sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 ounces thin green beans, trimmed and cut on the bias into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) whole-wheat pastry flour, white whole-wheat flour or 1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) each regular whole-wheat flour and all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup low-fat well-shaken buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)

In a heavy, wide pot or Dutch oven, combine the chicken, flesh side down, onion, celery, carrots, thyme, bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Add the broth, set the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and gently simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and transfer the chicken to a plate, let cool slightly, then separate the meat from the bones (discard the bones). Using two forks, tear the chicken into bite-size pieces.

Turn the heat back to medium-low and bring the liquid to a simmer. Add the green beans to the pot and cook, covered, until the green beans are firm-tender, about 6 minutes. Discard the thyme stems and bay leaves, taste, and season the vegetable mixture with additional salt, if desired. Return the shredded chicken to the pot and bring the broth back to a boil.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour(s), baking powder and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. In a small measuring cup with a spout, whisk together the buttermilk and the oil, then add it to the flour mixture and stir until just moistened; do not overmix. Spoon the dumpling batter in 8 mounds (about 3 tablespoons each) on top of the broth, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, without lifting the lid 8 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into each dumpling comes out clean. Remove from the heat.

Divide the chicken and dumplings across shallow bowls, garnished with fresh parsley, if desired, and serve.

Per serving (1 3/4 cups chicken mixture and 2 dumplings)

Calories: 483; Total Fat: 16 g; Saturated Fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 117 mg; Sodium: 584 mg; Carbohydrates: 37 g; Dietary Fiber: 7 g; Sugar: 8 g; Protein: 46g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

From cookbook author and registered nutritionist Ellie Krieger.

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