Turkey and Dumplings

November 23, 2011 • Alaska from Scratch, Autumn, Main Dishes, Poultry, Recipes, Seasons, Winter

Weather: 8 degrees and cloudy
What I’m listening to: Chopped on Food Network

Turkey and Dumplings is my favorite Thanksgiving leftover food. It’s better than your standard chicken and dumplings (because turkey has a rich and special quality I can’t really describe) and it’s different than the typical turkey noodle soup. There’s just something about Turkey and Dumplings that says “It’s time to cozy up, people; winter is here.” We always eat this over the weekend after Thanksgiving, which is right around the time we’re putting up a Christmas tree and filling the house with Christmas music. It’s hot and hearty, especially for the cold, dark Alaskan winter.

I have a wonderful food memory from when I had our second-born son in Prescott, Arizona, in December of 2004. It was snowing outside and Christmas was near and some good friends brought over a hot, steaming pot of chicken and dumplings. It was my first-ever dumplings experience and it was the perfect bowl of comfort and joy. This is where our annual dumplings tradition started.

Oh, and did you see that dumpling? It’s not thick or gooey or dense. It’s light and fluffy and tender. It has great texture from a little bit of cornmeal and buttermilk. You’ll be fighting over who gets the last one. My eight-year-old son asked for four. And those aren’t the only special ingredients in this pot…

Turkey and Dumplings

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman and Rachael Ray

  • 2T butter
  • 1T olive oil
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3T fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2t poultry seasoning
  • 1/4t thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4c flour
  • 6c chicken broth
  • 1/2c apple cider
  • 2 cups leftover turkey, light and dark meat, chopped
  • 1c frozen peas
  • 1/4c half and half
  • For the dumplings:
  • 1 1/2c flour
  • 1/2c cornmeal
  • 1T baking powder
  • 1t salt
  • 1 1/2c buttermilk
  • milk for thinning

In a large pot over medium heat, add oil and melt butter. Add carrots, celery, and onions. Cook 3-5 minutes until onions are translucent. Toss in parsley and seasonings. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then add flour. Cook, stirring, two more minutes.

Pour in broth and cider and add turkey. Bring to a boil and turn down to low, simmering 20 minutes, until veggies are tender.

Meanwhile make dumpling batter. Stir all dry ingredients together in a bowl and pour in buttermilk. Whisk to combine. If batter is too thick to whisk, add milk to thin until it loosens up. Batter should be loose, slightly thicker than pancake batter, but should hold together when scooped.

Add peas to pot, stir, and bring back to a simmer. Turn heat up to medium. Soup should be at a steady boil.

Drop scoops of dumpling batter (I use a medium cookie scoop) into boiling soup, scattering them around until the top of soup is covered with dumplings (they will puff up as they cook). Cover pot, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes or until dumplings are cooked through. Do not stir the soup while dumplings are steaming.

Remove from heat and add half and half to soup. Gently stir, being careful not to break the dumplings. Check seasoning and serve hot, making sure each bowl receives 1-2 dumplings.