Slow Cooker Turkey and Dumplings…

We are still in the midst of a major kitchen renovation and although I have a brand new stove sometimes it’s just easier to throw things into a slow cooker and let it do all the work. And that’s what I did the other night.

I am particularly proud of this recipe for a variety of reasons but mainly because this was the first time I actually experimented with a process in a slow cooker and it turned out great. In the past I had been the type of slow cooker girl that would never open the slow cooker during the cooking process. But I found that you can and still achieve great results, probably even better results if you are not afraid to walk on the wild side.

By itself, this recipe is pretty traditional using canned soup for the liquid that braises the meat. But by thickening the soup with some flour and water it made the juices turn into a thick creamy gravy. The other trick I used was taking store bought biscuits in a can and using them for the dumplings. I just cut them up and put them in the slow cooker for the last hour. They cooked to a perfect dumpling consistency much to my surprise.

So let’s talk slow cooker turkey with dumplings…

Lesson Learned 1 – Use flour and water to thicken your sauce: At the 4 hour mark I took out the turkey tenderloins to shred them. I noticed that the liquid in the slow cooker was very thin. Right before I added the meat back in I mixed together about 2 tablespoons of flour with about 1/8 cup water and stirred it into the liquid. Then I added back the shredded meat and the biscuits, stirred the mixture, covered the slow cooker and cooked the turkey and dumplings for another hour. The result was fabulous. I guarantee you I would not have gotten such a thick sauce had I not added the flour and water.

Slow Cooker Turkey And Dumplings

One clarifying point – it is extremely important that you mix the flour and water together thoroughly before adding it to the juices. I normally mix flour and water in a glass measuring cup. Once I think I’ve gotten the mixture correct I put my finger in and scrape it along the bottom of the glass. If I can feel any clumps of flour at all I continue mixing until they are all gone. That is very important. You don’t want to wind up with a clump of flour in your gravy.

Lesson Learned 2 – Adding whole garlic cloves to the slow cooker: I discovered that if you add whole garlic cloves at the beginning of the slow cooking process you infuse garlic into your ingredients. And, since slow cooking on average takes 4-6 hours, the garlic literally breaks down into the food so there is no worry of biting into a garlic clove. And if by chance a clove survives, it would be nice and tender, just as if you had roasted it. It’s a great trick to use in a slow cooker.

The VeggiesLesson Learned 3 – Cut large slices of your veggies: Whenever I slow cook I always cut my veggies on the larger side. I find that after cooking for 4-8 hours I’m left with veggies that still have texture and flavor versus veggies that have been completely broken down by the long cooking process.

Lesson Learned 4 – Using refrigerated biscuits for your dumplings: What a great surprise this was. I took butter flavored refrigerator biscuits, flattened them out with the palm of my hand and cut them into slices. I added them during the last hour of cooking and voila, I wound up with dumplings. This is a great trick. Try it!

Refrigerated Biscuits Cut Into Strips

I am really excited about this recipe on a variety of levels. First, it tasted great. Second, it looked great (remember you eat with your eyes first). Third, I experimented with some new techniques and they worked out fabulously. You’ve got to try this one. You will love it!

SLOW COOKER TURKEY AND DUMPLINGS...

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:

1 large onion, cut into quarters and separated

4 carrots, cut diagonally in 2 inch slices

2 large garlic cloves, whole

2 large turkey tenderloins

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can cream of celery soup

1 Tbs. flat leaf parsley, chopped

1 Tbs. poultry seasoning

2 cups chicken stock

1 cup frozen peas

1 can refrigerated biscuits, separated, flattened and cut into slices

2 Tbs. flour

1/8 cup water

Salt and pepper, to taste

Flat leaf parsley for garnish, optional

DIRECTIONS:

Line the bottom of the slow cooker with the onion slices, carrots and garlic. Place the turkey tenderloins on top of the vegetables. Salt and pepper the ingredients.

In a small bowl, combine thoroughly the soups, parsley and poultry season. Spread over the tenderloins. Pour the stock over the top of the tenderloins. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.

At the 4 hour mark, remove the tenderloins and cover the slow cooker. Shred the tenderloins using two forks. Open the refrigerated biscuits. Flatten each one with the palm of your hand and cut them into slices. (depending on the length of each slice you can also cut the slices once again in half). Mix together thoroughly the flour and water.

Uncover the slow cooker. Pour in the flour/water mixture and stir until combined in the liquid. Add back the shredded turkey and sliced biscuits. Gently stir to break up the biscuits. Cook for another hour on high, adding the frozen peas during the last 15 minutes of the cooking process.

Turkey Tenderloins

Turkey Tenderloins

Gravy Mixture

Gravy Mixture

Cover With Soup Mixture

Cover With Soup Mixture

Slow Cooker Turkey With Dumplings

Slow Cooker Turkey And Dumplings

Serving Suggestion

Serving Suggestion

Crock Pot Turkey And Dumplings

 

Mom’s Chicken Soup With Dumplings…

Most of you know by now that my mom wasn’t much of a cook. She led a busy life raising two kids and working (and you have to remember, at that time women were staying home when they had children) and so her meals were pretty rudimentary – meat, potatoes, peas or corn – that was about it. But there was one meal she made that was over the top fabulous and that was chicken soup and kugelis. I’m sharing the chicken soup recipe today. As for the kugelis recipe (kugelis is a Lithuanian dish and basically a baked potato pudding) I’ll share another time. Whenever my mom would visit us I would always ask that she make this meal. No one could make it like my mom – but she did pass down those secrets to me.

For years this was the only homemade soup I made. This year I ventured into making some others (broccoli cheddar and creamy tomato soups) and I now find it hard to believe why anyone would not make homemade soup. It’s so easy and most of the work, besides the chopping and dicing, is done in the pot.

I guarantee you this recipe is a keeper. It’s not rocket science but it is so-o-o good – it was and still is a tradition in my family. So let’s talk mom’s chicken soup with dumplings…

Chicken in a large enameled cast iron potLesson Learned 1 – Use a very large stock pot: I have a 6 1/2 quart LeCreuset stock pot that I use whenever I make soup and there’s a reason why. You need a big enough pot to put in a whole chicken and still have plenty of room for liquid. I make this recipe using a 5-6 pound chicken and it can take up a lot of room.

I also like using an enameled cast iron pot when I make soup because of it’s ability to hold heat and provide even heat. There is no better way to cook than to use cast iron, but it has its drawbacks. Mainly it’s very heavy and it takes a little more time for it to heat up. But when you’re cooking something for a substantial amount of time, I find the way to get the best results is to use cast iron.

DumplingsLesson Learned 2 – Don’t be afraid to make dumplings: Some people say they have no luck making dumplings. There is a trick to making them that basically ensures success all the time. Once you’ve spooned the dumpling batter in the pot, put the lid on and keep it on for at least 20 minutes – NO PEEKING. The dumplings need time to solidify and they only way they do is if you keep that lid on and let the steam cook them through. Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time to view your dumpling prowess after they’ve fully cooked. If you don’t do this, they will fall apart. So don’t be like my husband who likes to lift the lid of the crock pot mid through the cooking time to see how things are going. Keep the lid on and you will be successful!

texture of dumpling doughThe texture of the dumpling batter should resemble a slightly moist sticky dough. I apologize in advance but this is a skill you learn with trial and error. Just remember that you don’t want the dough too runny nor do you want it to lack some moisture. Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it sounds.  The picture on the left shows the dough just a little too moist but almost the desired consistency. I think added another tablespoon of flour at this point and it turned out perfectly. Once you have combined all the ingredients in the recipe, if it looks a little dry add a little more buttermilk and if it looks a little too wet add a little more flour. The trick is to add the buttermilk or flour a little at a time at that point, so you don’t over mix but get the right consistency.

One more great dumpling making secret: Before you start spooning in the dough, place your teaspoon into the boiling soup. That way when you drop in the dough it will easily release from the teaspoon. Do that every time and you’ll never have to worry about a lot of dough sticking to your spoon.

That’s it. The rest is assembling and preparing the ingredients and letting the chicken and dutch oven do all of the work. This is a great recipe especially for this time of year. I hope you enjoy it!

Mom's Chicken Soup With Dumplings

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:

Soup:

1 five to six pound chicken, thawed

5-6 medium sized carrots peeled and cut into 2 inch logs (or you can use baby carrots as well)

4 celery heart stalks, diced

3 cloves of garlic peeled but left whole

2 bay leaves

2 thirty-two ounce boxes of unsalted chicken stock

2 tsp. instant bouillon chicken granules

water

chopped chives for garnish

salt and pepper

Dumplings:

1 cup flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 extra large egg, slightly beaten

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/8 cup melted butter (2 Tbs)

2 Tbs. chopped chives

DIRECTIONS:

Wash chicken, remove any material inside the cavity and pat dry. (if the chicken has any innards such as a neck, liver and heart throw that in the pot as well). Put the chicken in a 6 1/2 quart stock pot. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the carrots, celery, garlic and bay leaves. Pour in the chicken stock. Add the bouillon granules. Fill the remainder of the pot with water until the liquid is about an inch from the top of the pan. Cover the pot and cook for 30 – 40 minutes. (a six pound bird required 40 minutes on medium-high heat).

After 40 minutes, turn off the heat and carefully remove the chicken from the pot along with the bay leaves. The garlic cloves will basically disintegrate so you don’t need to worry about removing them. Allow chicken to cool slightly so that you can work with it. Remove all the meat from the chicken, being careful to discard any bones and skin. Chop the chicken meat into nice bite size pieces. Put the meat back in the pot, cover the pot and bring to a boil.

While the soup is coming back to a boil make the dumplings. Melt the butter and give it time to cool before adding it to the dumpling mixture. Combine all of the dry ingredients including the chives. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients (it is important for the melted butter to be cool so that it doesn’t scramble the egg). Stir until combined. If the mixture is too dry add a little more buttermilk, if too moist add a little more flour.

Remove the cover from the pan. If the broth is boiling quickly drop the dumpling dough into the pan by the teaspoonful. Once all the dough is in the dutch oven, put the lid back on, lower the heat to medium and do not take the lid off the pan for at least 20 minutes. The dumplings are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

All Ingredients With Stock

 Cook for at least 30-40 minutes

Cut up the chicken

Put dumpling dough into boiling soup

Mom's chicken soup with dumplings