I also am in the process of searching for the "perfect" Chicken and Dumplings recipe so that complicates things a bit. I have several targets for finding those "perfect" recipes and once I find them then I look no further. I may not make these essential recipes often but when I need them, they never fail to please and most could not be easier.
A few such "essentials" that I have featured here include Piecrust, Pecan Butter Balls (a.k.a. Mexican Wedding Cakes), Pumpkin Pie, Sloppy Joes, and Simple Barbecue Sauce.
Now we may add this Dumpling recipe to that list. Once again, I don't make dumplings often. If I made them more than once or twice a year it would be amazing. However, these are the easiest I've ever come across and they met with universal approval.
The Chicken Stew part? I'm still looking.
(from Cook's Illustrated magazine)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons reserved chicken fat (or unsalted butter)
Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Microwave the milk and fat in a microwave-safe bowl on high until just warm (do not over-heat), about 1 minute. Stir the warmed milk mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until incorporated
Return stew (or whatever you are adding dumplings to) to a simmer and drop golf-ball sized
dumplings over the top of the stew, about 1/4 inch apart (you should have about 18 dumplings). Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the dumplings have doubled in size, 15 to 18 minutes. Serve.