Chicken and Dumplings with Leeks and Tarragon
Why This Recipe Works
Chicken and dumplings make chicken pot pie look easy. There’s no disguising a leaden dumpling. One goal was to develop a dumpling that was light yet substantial, and tender yet durable. The other was to develop a well-rounded recipe that, like chicken pot pie, included vegetables, therein supplying the cook with a complete meal in one dish.
Dumplings can contain myriad ingredients, and there are just as many different ways to mix them. We tried them all—with disastrous results. But when we stumbled on a unique method of adding warm liquid rather than cold to the flour and fat, our dumplings were great—firm but light and fluffy. The reason? The heat expands and sets the flour so that the dumplings don’t absorb liquid in the stew. The best-tasting dumplings were made with all-purpose flour, whole milk, and the chicken fat left from browning the chicken.