Chicken with Sourdough Dumplings


My name is Julie, and I’m a recipe-a-holic. There are worse vices (unless recipe addiction involves stockpiling decades’ worth of food magazines, and taking in any others that friends threaten to recycle). I have loved them since I was a kid. I know I’ve told you the story of pilfering peoples’ cookbook shelves and recipe boxes when I’d go over to babysit, after the kids went to bed.

I have in my travels thumbed past many a recipe for chicken & dumplings. So many, in fact, that I have become oblivious to them, even though it’s something I’ve never actually made before. Somehow it just blips past my radar: chicken & dumplings – know that one. Not even a glimmer of interest flitters through my mind. (Chicken and biscuits, yes – but that’s a whole different thing.)

And today, I only made it because I was talking about sourdough starter on the radio this morning, and had to make something, and was passed on a recipe for sourdough dumplings. It seemed the most interesting of the lot (biscuits, pancakes, coffee cake). And you need a vehicle for dumplings. I searched around for something that used up frozen lumps of pork shoulder, but mostly dumplings go on chicken, souped or stewed. Fortunately I had some chicken thighs deep in the freeze.

Of course it was stupidly easy. And used only stuff I always have, unless of course I’m out of chicken. I imagine a few meaty Portobello mushrooms would make a mighty fine vegetarian version.

It went over so well at the studio this morning that I actually stopped and picked up more chicken on the way home to make another batch for lunch for my sisters, who were coming for a sit and visit (being spring break and all). You can imagine how good the kitchen smelled with chicken & biscuits simmering on the stove. How did I never realize the potential of pillowy wads of dough, simmered in creamy chicken gravy so that they tasted like fresh biscuits saturated with said gravy, only without losing their structural integrity? duh. (Note: they do taste better than they look.)

Tomorrow, I will spin the tale of the adoption of the new living being in our fridge.


Chicken with Sourdough Dumplings

Recipe link


March 24, 2009



6 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs

canola or olive oil, for cooking

butter, for cooking (optional)

1 large onion, finely chopped

2-4 Tbsp. (ish) sherry (optional)

3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1L low-sodium chicken broth

1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (or a few sprigs)

1 cup frozen green peas

1/4 cup half & half or heavy cream


1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup sourdough starter

2 Tbsp. canola or olive oil

1 egg


1Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat s drizzle of oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat uand brown the chicken until golden on both sides, working in batches so that you don't crowd the pan. Transfer the chicken to a plate, add a bit more oil (and a bit of butter if you like) and saute the onions until golden. Add the sherry and cook for a minute (it will almost cook off), scraping up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan (or you could use a bit of the stock or some water to do this), then add the flour and stir to coat the onions. Add the stock and thyme, then return the chicken to the pot and bring to a simmer; cover and cook over low heat for about an hour.

2Meanwhile, stir together the dumpling ingredients. Take the lid off the pot (if you like, shred the chicken with forks and pull out the bones - you could refrigerate it at this point and do this with your fingers, then reheat when you want to), add the peas and cream and bring back to a simmer. Drop walnut to golf-ball sized dumplings over the top of the stew, about 1/4 inch apart. Cover and cook until the dumplings have doubled in size, about 15 minutes.

3 Serve warm.


One Year Ago: Arancini and Beef Tataki with Ponzu Sauce



About Julie

27 comments on “Chicken with Sourdough Dumplings

  1. robin
    March 25, 2009 at 12:28 am

    this sounds so good. it’s the kind of thing you always prefer someone make for you rather than making it yourself… it’s more comforting that way! lol

  2. Manon from Ontario
    March 25, 2009 at 4:28 am

    My Mom used to make dumplings in “patte de cochon stew” when I was young, it was a family tradition.

    Hope your visit with your sisters went well :)


  3. Barb
    March 25, 2009 at 6:14 am

    I make it only occasionaly and, like you, enjoy it very much and wonder why I don’t make it more often. Can’t figure that out.

  4. Jen C
    March 25, 2009 at 6:40 am

    “Welcome Julie, my name is Jen and I am also a recipe-a-holic”….it could be worse! This does sound yummy and I’m sure the smell when you walked into your house was amazing – Robin is right, it is always better when someone else makes it – weird but true!

  5. PattyCake
    March 25, 2009 at 6:50 am

    Mmmm . . . as a lover of dumplings (and chicken), I am very intrigued by this recipe. I’ve Googled ‘sourdough starter’ and am seriously thinking about starting one, although it sounds a little scary.

  6. heather
    March 25, 2009 at 8:19 am

    I love chicken and dumplings. This is even better!



  7. robyn
    March 25, 2009 at 8:39 am

    Oh my god, nothing better than dumplings!! Balls of dough. Mmmmmm.

  8. Sarah
    March 25, 2009 at 9:18 am

    Ooh, “new living being in your fridge”??? I’m going to go with sourdough starter, sea monkey eggs, or crickets….

  9. kelly
    March 25, 2009 at 9:37 am

    yum! sounds delish. i hear you on the recipe/food mags – i could look through them for hours.

  10. Melanie
    March 25, 2009 at 11:09 am

    I just made dumplings for the first time last night! I don’t know that I’ve ever even eaten one before… Anyways, they were really good (from that lovely canadian recipe cookbook you’ve mentioned before – can’t remember the name) but they were saffron scented – quite lovely! The moroccan chicken stew that they were cooked in was amazing as well!

  11. Theresa
    March 25, 2009 at 11:24 am

    my kids call it cloud soup……..

  12. Erica B.
    March 25, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    “My Name is Erica and I too am a recipe-a-holic, my obsession includes, epicurious, and the home cooking board on chowhound, and various blogs (including this one! heh) not to mention the cabinet and shelf that are overloaded with cookbooks and magazines.”

    Chicken & dumplings look interesting…however your last line: “Tomorrow, I will spin the tale of the adoption of the new living being in our fridge.” has me thinking…living being?? What on earth? I guess I’ll have to wait ’til tomorrow to find out :)

  13. Margaret L
    March 25, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    So, what do I substitute for sour dough starter if I don’t have any?

  14. piccola
    March 25, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    @Manon – Mine too! Only nothing so fancy as sourdough dumplings, just good ol’ fashioned baking powder ones. I so associate them with pork that it never occurred to me to make them with something else now that I’m veg,,,

  15. JulieVR
    March 25, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    You could use any drop biscuit or dumpling recipe instead. Or perhaps substitute about 1/2 cup of flour and 3/4 cup of milk? you want a dough that’s thicker than pancake batter, but not stiff enough to cut like a regular biscuit.

  16. thepinkpeppercorn
    March 25, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    hehe, I’m a recipe-a-holic too….and yes… have always been. Dumplings! YUM!!

  17. Natalie
    March 26, 2009 at 4:18 am

    There should be a twelve-step program out there for us somewhere? My name is Natalie, and I have a problem…. I can’t pass a book store without buying a cookbook or a food magazine. I can’t pass a kitchen store without buying a kitchen trinket of some sort. I go to every Pampered Chef, Epicure party that every friend I have ever known has had. I call it food porn. It could be worse….

  18. Joni
    March 26, 2009 at 5:43 am

    Yesterday in the morning I had this weird craving for chicken and dumplings. Imagine my excitement when I looked at your blog! Made this last night (with plain dumplings from Joy of Cooking because I had no starter… oh, and some white wine because I had no sherry) and it was delicious!! I’m thinking about dipping into it for breakfast right now actually…

  19. Lana
    March 26, 2009 at 10:25 am

    My name is Lana and I, too, am a recipe-holic.
    I did the same thing, Julie, when I was babysitting as a teenager..going through cookbooks!
    My favourite end to the weekend is to sit at the table with my cookbooks and plan the meal and grocery list for the week. Also, to do the same for dinner parties or for when there is company coming for the weekend.
    And “chicken and dumplings” is what my three children request for their birthday dinners every year. Yummy!

  20. Erica B.
    March 26, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Ok Julie, just what is living in your fridge? Enquiring minds want to know 😉

  21. Darlene
    March 26, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    HEY Julie!

    I just had to send you a message today – I haven’t talked with you in oh – about a year and today I was bragging about you as I taught an extended learning class about ‘Smart Cookie’ baking! I think I sold about 5 of your cookbooks to all of the teacher’s aides who were in and out of the class! And yes I remember your loving comments about teaching large groups of kids! My family love and often use your cookbooks… will email soon!
    Darlene (your Real Woman on the Run buddy)

  22. LisaMer
    March 27, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Dumplings, biscuits, Yorkshire pudding, I love them all!!! I feel weak in the knees just looking at that picture.

    Cookbooks are my favourite kind of book. 😉 Maybe our “book” club is aptly named after all!

  23. suzanne
    March 28, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Don’t be afraid of sourdough starter….you can freeze it, so you don’t become a slave to it and then take it out for 3 – 4 hours to make good use of it. I was given some while spending the Winter in Arizona…I’m Canadian. The dumplings sound good….I’m trying it soon. Thanks

  24. Rina
    December 3, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    Does this recipe call for fed or discarded sourdough starter. I think it makes a difference, no?

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