If you want pure nostalgia and warmth encapsulated within a dish, you really can’t do any better than chicken and dumplings.
This dish is a staple of American cuisine and is enjoyed by households all across America.
It features a warming, rich, and tasty soup filled to the brim with hearty chicken chunks, plenty of vegetables, and the main event: Dumplings!
Chicken and dumplings aren’t too complicated to make, and can be done entirely in one pot, ready to be served to plenty of hungry diners!
Simply place the ingredients into a pot, and allow them to boil for a good length of time, make some dumplings, and then pop them in towards the end, to bake!
However, the potential difficulty of making chicken and dumplings arises when it comes time to decide when it’s done.
Too soon and the dumplings will be soggy and unbaked, but too long and the dish will be overcooked and will have lost its amazing taste.
So how can you possibly get that absolutely perfect taste, and cook the dish to perfection? How do you know when it’s done? Let’s try and figure this out.
How Do You Tell If Chicken And Dumplings Are Done?
The hardest part to check, when trying to see if chicken and dumplings are fully cooked, are the dumplings themselves.
On the surface, they can look fully cooked, but it could still well be that they are entirely raw on the inside.
Of course, finished dumplings will likely take on a slightly golden hue, under normal circumstances, but when allowed to boil in the chicken broth, they won’t turn out like that.
In order to check whether the dumplings are done, just take a simple toothpick, and push it through one of the dumplings.
When you take the toothpick back out, check to see if it comes out clean. If some of the dough from the dumplings is stuck to the stick, the dumplings are not yet done and need a little more time.
Dumplings can cook quite quickly when boiled, hence why they should be added to the dish towards the end of the process. Dumplings can usually take around 5 minutes to cook fully when boiling.
But how do you tell if the dish as a whole, and not just the dumplings, are done? In order to ensure that you are taking the chicken and dumpling dish away from heat at just the right time, you should check the consistency of the broth.
Has the broth thickened up just slightly in comparison to how it was when you put it in the pot?
This is a good sign, as it shows that some of the water has boiled away. The broth will be bubbling, and the chicken will be fully cooked and will have a tender consistency.
If you want to check even further, you could also take out a piece of chicken, and cut into it, to check that it has been cooked all the way.
Can You Overcook Chicken And Dumplings?
Yes. It is definitely possible to overcook chicken and dumplings, hence why you need to keep a careful measure over the dish, especially towards the end of the process, when you add the dumplings.
If you were to overcook the dumplings, you would notice that the texture and consistency would be all wrong. The dumplings would be rather dry and crumbly and would fall apart with little effort.
You want your dumplings to be slightly doughy and soft, which is the perfect texture, to make them taste and feel truly amazing.
Thus, you shouldn’t worry too much about fully cooking the dumplings, and you should go with your gut when you decide they’ve cooked long enough, to avoid overcooking them.
If you were to overcook the entire dish, you may also notice that the chicken and even the vegetables become less satisfying, in terms of texture and taste.
The chicken may be slightly flaky and dry, similar to the dumplings. This can ruin the dish outright.
How Do You Avoid Overcooking Chicken and Dumplings?
Accidentally overcooking chicken and dumplings can be very easily done and can ruin a dish that usually requires some careful effort.
In order to ensure that you don’t overcook your chicken and dumplings, when adding the dumplings you should be sure to stay with the dish.
When you add the dumplings to the broth, they will only need a good few minutes until they are fully cooked.
Once you have added the dumplings, keep your eye on them, and occasionally stir them. Once you feel they’ve been in long enough, check with a toothpick to see that the centers have been cooked.
If the toothpick comes out clean, then your dumplings are done! From there, simply remove the dish from the heat, and serve it up, and it should be absolutely perfect!
Let’s Finish Up
Chicken and dumplings is a time-honored recipe enjoyed by millions every single year. It’s incredibly warming and has such a great and rich history behind it.
As such, there is definitely a ‘right’ way to make it. You want to ensure that you do not overcook it, as this leads to dry, crumbly, and tasteless chicken and dumplings, but you also don’t want it to be undercooked!
In order to get the dish out at just the right moment, make sure to frequently check the dumplings as they boil.
Once the dumplings are done, the dish itself will also be done, and will be perfect for serving!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Dumplings Float When Done?
Yes. This is another way to check to see if dumplings are done. If they float well, they will be finished.
However, it could also mean that they are overdone, as the floating is caused by the water in the dumplings evaporating, and creating small bubbles of air.
Thus, you shouldn’t always depend on floating as an accurate measure of a perfect cooking duration.
Do Dumplings Expand When Cooked?
Yes. Dumplings can expand as they boil, and thus, you should make sure that there is a good amount of space between them when you put them to boil!
Do You Cook Dumplings Covered Or Uncovered?
You should generally aim to cook your dumplings with a lid on top of the cooking pot.
This is so that the steam can cycle around the top of the pot, which causes the dumplings to cook more quickly, while still retaining lots of moisture.
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