Comfort Food


Sometimes you can read a few simple words and your stomach will immediately sink. You don’t know what is coming next, but you know it can’t be good. That’ s what happened on Thanksgiving day when I went over to Annie’s Eats and saw, “Our Thanksgiving did not go as planned.”

As I read those words, I hoped that it was something food related, maybe her oven went out… But paired with the sweet photo of her father and daughter, I knew deep down it was more. And it was.

What was supposed to be a day of family, giving thanks, and delicious food, quickly turned into what I am sure was horrible nightmare with a phone call. That morning, Annie’s father passed away suddenly at the age of 59. You don’t need to read very far into her blog to find the words that will show what an amazing man he was and how much he meant to Annie.

When something awful like this happens, the first thoughts that usually run through your head are, “What can I do?” And when it’s someone close to home it’s inevitable that as you start thinking of ways to comfort that family, food has a way of coming right to the top of a short list of things that seem both comforting and appropriate.

The blogging community can be a really close one, despite the thousands of miles that can separate it. One such community that I belong to decided that since we can’t bring a covered dish right to Annie’s door, we would do the next best thing and bring a comfort food to her through our blogs.

It will never heal the hurt in Annie’s heart. It will never make her families sadness go away. But I hope that the thoughts and prayers we put into our comfort foods and blogs can close the gap between us and that Annie and her family can feel our support for her, from however far away we each are. If you haven’t already, maybe you can stop by her blog and leave some words for her.

Annie, I am so sorry. I know your dad was an amazing man.

As for my comfort food, this was the very first thing to come to mind. Chicken and Dumplings are one of my favorites, one of Jesse’s favorites and always warm and comforting.

Chicken and Dumplings

3 chicken breast, roasted and shredded*
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1 celery stalk, finely diced ~1/4 cup
1/2 of a small onion, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
salt and pepper to taste
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tbsp butter
1 32-ounce carton low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 Tbsp butter, just slightly softened and cut into chunks
1/2 cup of milk

*I always use my fingers to shred chicken. It feels like I’m better able to get rid of all of the gristly stuff that’s really unpleasant when you bite into it.

In a large stock pot melt the butter. Add the vegetables and garlic and cook for 5 minutes to soften, add salt, pepper and thyme to season. Next add the chicken broth and water and bring to a boil. While the broth is coming to a boil make the dumpling dough by whisking together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Use fingers to incorporate the butter into the flour, then stir in the milk. It should be wet and stick together, but not runny. Drop the dough one spoonful at a time into the boiling broth. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes then add the shredded chicken and carefully stir. By this time the broth should have thickened but if it hasn’t, you can stir together equal amounts of flour and milk (a tablespoon or two) and add that to the broth.

Remove the sprigs of thyme before serving. Serve hot over mashed potatoes or by itself.

Sunny Side Up original recipe, dumplings dough adapted from

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Annie

    >Jessica, thank you so much for your eloquent and touching post. It really means a lot to me to have your support, even if you are so far away. The chicken and dumplings look wonderful and are total comfort food. (Funnily enough, I just made them not long ago myself and have yet to post about it. I'm sure I'll look at them in a different light now.) Thanks dear.

  2. Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen

    >This has truly taught us to spend thanksgiving, giving thanks. Will visit Annie's blog next. Thank you for sharing Jess, they're really as simple as a dish with one simple purpose, to comfort.

  3. Kelsey

    >Beautifully written, Jessica.

  4. Anonymous

    >Chicken and dumplings is my comfort food and pretty much the ONLY thing that sounds good when going through rough times. I've been making my Mom's recipe for years and decided to try your recipe a couple of weeks ago. I didn't follow it exactly and ended up cooking everything and leaving it on the stoptop (heat turned off) with the lid on for the dumplings to finish cooking while taking my son to karate. When we came home, the dumplings were PERFECT (the texture I like anyway) and the soup was nice and thick. I am forever replacing my old recipe with yours.

  5. Toots

    >This was AWESOME! My bf & I had never tried chicken & dumplings before. I'm weird about food textures so I was a bit nervous about the dumplings but they were delicious. Awesome dinner for a cold January night, and quick & easy to make too. My bf said he thinks it's one of the best things we've ever made 🙂

  6. Anonymous

    >This recipe was delicious. Thanks for sharing!

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