Chicken with Spring Vegetables and Gnocchi

Chicken and dumplings, how do I love thee?  More ways than there would be room to list in this post, that’s for sure.  And while one of the reasons I love it so is that chicken and dumplings is a warm and hearty comfort food, that heartiness used to keep this in the Cold Winter’s Night part of my recipe repertoire.  But now that I’ve found a version that replaces the dumplings with gnocchi and that introduces some spring veggies into the action?  Chicken and dumplings all year round!

It all started with this guy.

Isn’t he handsome?  In fact, he’s so handsome that I bought both him and his brother, with no intention other than to have some sweet and delicious fennel around the house to snack on.  And then I realized I also had some of these…

And some of these…

And all of the sudden that grilled chicken I was planning to make for dinner disappeared in a puff of smoke.  All I needed was a lighter form of dumpling than those usual big wonderful puffy ones that I make in, say, February.  Something like, well, gnocchi.  Now, if you are really feeling energetic you can make your own gnocchi to go with this dish.  Gnocchi are traditionally made from potatoes, but I once made ricotta gnocchi myself, and they were both pretty straightforward to make and pretty easy, and the next time I make this recipe I’m going to make my own gnocchi for it.  I am.  But this time around things were happening fast, so I packed the Southern husband off to the supermarket to get a package of pre-made gnocchi.  You gotta do what you gotta do.

So here’s what happens.  Take some nice chicken broth (I like the Pacific and Imagine varieties) and cook up a few chicken breasts in the broth until they are just cooked through.  Take out the chicken, saving the hot broth. Cool ’em off a little and shred them into bite-sized pieces.  Can I just say that shredded chicken is heaven? It is.

Now melt a little butter in a small pot and stir in some flour to make a nice little roux.  Whisk it into your hot broth, and in a few minutes it’s going to thicken it up just enough to make a gorgeous light sauce.  Now toss in all those lovely chopped veggies…the fennel, the leek, the carrots…and let them simmer for about 5 minutes.  You want them cooked but not mushy.  Now add the chicken back to the pot with some chopped parsley and a little salt and pepper and stir it all up.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, cook up your gnocchi in a pot of boiling water until they are nice and tender…this is going to take about 5 minutes.  Drain ’em and add them to the chicken mixture, and stir it all lovingly until it’s one big pot of deliciousness.  Now transfer it to a big serving bowl or individual plates and garnish it with a little more parsley and some parmesan that you have cleverly shaved with your vegetable peeler.

Springtime chicken and dumplings.  Who knew??

Still Hungry?

Creamy Slow Cooker Chicken, from Framed Cooks

Chicken Alfredo, from Recipe Girl

Butter Chicken, from Framed Cooks

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit


Chicken with Spring Vegetables and Gnocchi
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • 10 cups chicken broth
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken breast
  • ½ stick butter
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • I large bulb of fennel, trim and sliced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 leek, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced (white and light green part only)
  • 12 ounces fresh potato or ricotta gnocchi
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish
  • Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Shaved parmesan for garnish
  1. Bring broth to a boil in a large Dutch oven and add chicken. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Remove chicken, saving broth in same pot, and cool. Shred into bite sized pieces.
  2. Bring broth in Dutch oven back to a simmer.
  3. Melt butter in small saucepan. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, for about 3 minutes. Add to simmering broth and cook for 5-10 minutes until slightly thickened.
  4. Add chopped vegetables and simmer for 5 minutes. Add in chicken and parsley and heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Meanwhile, cook gnocchi according to package directions and drain. Add to chicken mixture and stir until everything is well combined.
  6. Transfer to serving bowl or plates and garnish with shaved parmesan and chopped parsley,


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  1. Barbara Collins Rosenberg says

    Perfect timing, will make this tomorrow for my book club! We read MAINE, by J.Courtney Sullivan.

  2. says

    I never realized that gnocchi are just the summery version of dumplings…but they SO ARE. Good call on that one. I’m loving all the spring veggies in this dish!

    • Kate says

      Right?? I love gnocchi. I just need to figure out how to spell it correctly the first time…I’ve been doing a lot of re-typing!

  3. says

    I have to try this, we make gnocchi all the time here.
    In fact, in Buenos Aires, the first Thursday of every month is Gnochhi day :)

    I also make a roast chicken with tomatoes and gnocchi that is so easy and fast, just throw it all in the oven and let it cook , the gnocchi soaks up the juices .. delish.

  4. ruthie says

    My mom used to make gnocchi whenever she made ravioli. She’d make the filling (spinach and meat) and double the recipe, using part for the ravioli and the rest for gnocchi. They make excellent tiny meatballs to add to a nice vegetable soup for a little more substance. I don’t think I’ve ever had the potato ones, or cheese, either.

    Those veggies really sing with color and flavor. I love the fennel – there’s so many things you can do with it. You know, you could take the chicken and veggies alone, put a nice dressing on them and do a wrap or fill a pita pocket. That would be excellent, too. Great combination!

  5. erin says

    i made this last night! my boyfriend and i loved it. tasted like a meal which took a long time…even thought it didn’t!

  6. erin says

    Also, I should add, the dish tasted even better when we went back for seconds an hour after it was sitting out. The gnocchi seems to absorb more of the liquid.

  7. Terri says

    YUMMERS!!! Pleased my family of 6. toddlers to teenagers. I cooked the gnocchi in the broth when I added the chicken to cut a step and save a pot. Gave it a very rich flavor. Definitely a repeat recipe!


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