Finding a dish that pleases a crowd of adults, picky eaters, and toddlers is hard to pull off, but this dish does the trick every time.

Ingredients

Chicken and Stock

  • 1 whole chicken, 4 to 5 pounds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 head garlic, halved horizontally
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 to 5 black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup diced carrot
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen pearl onions
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Dumplings

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ to 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh chives
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Method

Make the chicken and stock: Rinse the chicken under cold water and discard the giblets. Place the chicken, bay leaves, garlic, thyme sprigs, a large pinch of salt, and the peppercorns in a large heavy pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1½ hours, or until the chicken is tender, skimming the surface several times.

Transfer the chicken to a platter to cool a bit and strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding any solids. Pull the chicken into big pieces and discard the skin and bones. Cover and set aside. Measure out 6 cups of the chicken stock, reserving any additional stock for another use.

In a Dutch oven, heat the butter and oil together over medium heat until the butter melts. Add the carrot, celery, garlic, and bay leaves and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and whisk until combined, then continue to stir and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the 6 cups of chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add the peas and pearl onions. Simmer the sauce until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Stir the heavy cream and reserved shredded chicken into the sauce and bring to a simmer.

Make the Dumplings

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a large bowl. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs, buttermilk, and chives together; pour the egg mixture into the bowl with the flour and fold together gently, mixing just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very soft.

Using 2 spoons, carefully drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the buttermilk-chive dumpling batter onto the hot chicken mixture. The dumplings should not be touching or crowded. Cover the pot and cook the dumplings for 10 to 15 minutes, until they are firm, puffy, and cooked through. Season with freshly ground black pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before spooning the chicken, dumplings, and sauce into shallow soup bowls.

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