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Dinner With Julie - 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.)

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.)



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

Pat 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 and 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.

Meanwhile, 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. Serve warm.


Julie is a best-selling cookbook author, food writer, cooking instructor and the food and nutrition columnist on the Calgary Eyeopener on CBC Radio. She lives in Calgary with her husband and son, Wilem. Watch for her cooking show, It’s Just Food, with co-host Ned Bell on Access TV and CLT stations across Canada. For more great dining ideas and dinner suggestions from Julie visit

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