Monday, October 1, 2012

Mamacita's Chicken and Masa dumplings

I had to use the term "Mamacita" for this recipe.
You know why?
It's because I over-use Mexican... but, it's only because I just can't get enough of the Mexican flavors.

This started out as regular ole' Chicken and dumplings....
Well... wait a sec.... no it really didn't. I never intended to do regular ole' anything.
I am well aware that I can't follow a basic recipe, I just must do something different.

I thought cornmeal dumplings sounded better than basic dumplings.
But then I was out of corn meal... dang it.
Hey, I have a whole bag of masa flour.
I guess I have delusions of homemade tamales in the future.
Stay tuned, I'll see if my Mom will give me her recipe.
Nope, she isn't even Hispanic but she has made some kick ass tamales my whole life. Mamacita?  Why yes, she is, and hey, I guess I am too now.

But once I had decided on Masa dumplings, the rest of the meal was really off and running.  I had a butternut squash sitting on my counter staring at me accusingly, just wanting to be needed.  Well, if I had squash, it seems like you ought to go with it.... so, next came, corn.  You already know how much I like corn.
P.S. Don't turn your nose up at the squash, it was mild and sweet and not squashy at all in this recipe.

Here it is, we loved this dish very much and it was pretty dang easy too. We had a great dinner, with plenty of leftovers for about 5 lunches.  I will be happy to see a rerun of this during my work day. I've got some people in my life who are going Gluten Free and this is the perfect thing to share with them, and no one will feel deprived or that they are eating something they don't like

Note:  I used water, not chicken broth, for this recipe, and it was marvelous.
Do what you wanna do.

Serves about 6-8

6 (about 3 lbs) Chicken, either breasts or thighs, boneless & skinless, cubed
         (I used 1/2 and 1/2)
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cups butternut squash, cubed into 1" pcs
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
2 fresno red chilies (optional) minced
2 cups chicken broth, or water
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
salt & pepper

Brown the chicken , if you like, before adding it to the crockpot with all the other above ingredients.  I browned half the chicken, and purposely left the rest raw to see if there was any difference in the finished product- - nope, really, I don't think there was.  The browned chicken might have looked better though with a little browness.

Cook on high for 5 hours, or on low for 7-8 hours.  30-40 minutes before serving, prepare the dumplings (below).

For Masa Dumplings:

1 cup masa harina (instant corn masa flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter (lard or margarine), cut into small pieces
3/4 cup chicken broth, or water

For Masa Dumplings, mix masa harina, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Using a food processor, blend in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add chicken broth, or water; stir just until moistened.

Adjust seasoning, with more salt and pepper, as needed.  You need to make sure the stew tastes good now, before you add the dumplings.
Stir in a scoop of the masa dough and thoroughly mix it into the chicken stew. This will add some creaminess and some thickness.  With the rest of the dough, drop 8 to 10 heaping tablespoons of dough (I used a big cookie scoop), about 2 inches apart, onto simmering chicken. Don't stir them at all. Cover. Simmer 35-40 minutes or until tops of dumplings are done.  They won't be super hard, but they will be like a soft tamale or polenta.  Perfect with the chicken stew.

This is what they looked like before they cooked another 35-40 minutes.

More from Lazy Girl Crock Pot recipes:
40 Clove Garlic Chicken
Black Bean Chili
Tuscan Pot Roast
All Veggie (Vegan) Chili
Chicken with Coconut, Lime & Peanut Sauce
Greek Pork and Garbanzo Stew
Hot Links, Red Beans and Rice
Salsa Chicken
Sesame Chicken


  1. Tried using these dumplings on a different soup, they completely disintegrated... Does a masa dumpling exist where this doesn't happen? Maybe this is why tamales are wrapped in corn husks.

    1. Sorry to hear they did that. I was very careful not to stir the stew while my dumpling were cooking, however it IS a very tender dough so I can see where that might happen. For this dish, it worked because it thickened it and added some tender dumplings. I hope your dish still tasted good enough to enjoy!