Chicken and Dumpling Pot Pie

with Buttermilk Cathead Biscuit Crust

By Trace Barnett

Picture tender strips of chicken nestled among plump dumplings, all swimming in a savory broth that’s been lovingly seasoned to perfection. And topping it all off are those heavenly biscuits, golden-brown and slightly crispy on the outside, yet soft and pillowy on the inside.

Chicken dumpling pot pie is the epitome of comfort food, seamlessly combining the rich flavors of chicken and dumplings with the irresistible charm of fluffy buttermilk cathead biscuits. This one-dish wonder serves up heaps of Southern nostalgia with every bite.

What is a Cathead Biscuit?

A cathead biscuit is a type of Southern-style biscuit that is characterized by its large size and fluffy texture. The name “cathead” comes from the fact that these biscuits are often as large as a cat’s head. Cathead biscuits are typically made with simple ingredients such as flour, buttermilk, baking powder, salt, and a bit of fat–like butter or lard. They are rolled out and then baked until golden brown, resulting in a tender interior with a crispy exterior.

Cathead biscuits are a beloved staple of Southern cuisine and are often served alongside meals or as a base for dishes like biscuits and gravy, dumplings, and pot pies. Each spoonful transports you to a cozy kitchen filled with the aroma of home-cooked meals and cherished memories.

What can I use as a substitute for chicken?

Chicken in pot pie or dumplings can easily be substituted with pheasant, quail, or other game birds to create a gourmet twist on a classic dish. The rich and flavorful meat of game birds adds a unique depth of flavor, elevating them to a whole new level of culinary delight. Whether you’re using tender pheasant breast in a savory pot pie or incorporating succulent quail meat into fluffy dumplings, the result is sure to impress even the most discerning palate.

With their lean and tender flesh, game birds offer a delicious alternative to chicken, infusing each bite with a distinctive taste of the wild. Experimenting with different game meats allows home cooks to explore new flavors and textures while enjoying the cozy warmth and satisfaction of hearty pot pies and dumplings. Truly, it’s a culinary masterpiece that satisfies both the stomach and the soul.

Chicken Dumpling Pot Pit (Serves 6-8)


1 whole chicken, boiled and shredded
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
3/4 cup- 1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 carrots, sliced
3 celery stalks, chopped
6 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish


  1. In a large pot, boil chicken until cooked thoroughly. (Juices run clear and temp as reached 165 degrees). Allow to cool and use hands or forks to remove chicken from bone and shred. Reserve liquid and carcass to make stock.
  2. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the dumplings. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Use a fork or pastry cutter to cut 8 tablespoons butter into into flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk and stir together until dough pulls away from the bowl and forms a ball. Transfer dough to a floured surface. Fold the dough over 2-3 times and pat down into a rectangle that is roughly 1/2-inch thick. Use a biscuit cutter or floured glass to cut out biscuits. Place biscuits to the side. Pinch remaining dough and reserve for dumplings.
  3. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large pan or skillet. Add the chopped onion, garlic, celery, and carrots. Sauté until softened.
  4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  5. Pour in the homemade chicken stock and return the shredded chicken to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until mixture comes together. Once boiling, add dumpling pieces. Cook until dumplings are fluffy and no longer sticky 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat.
  6. Place cut biscuits over the dumplings and transfer to heated oven. Cook for 20-25 minutes until biscuits are golden brown. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Tips for Making Chicken Stock

Use a Large Pot: Use a large stockpot to accommodate the chicken carcass, vegetables, and water comfortably. 

Save Vegetable Scraps: Save leftover vegetable scraps such as onion skins, carrot tops, and celery ends in a resealable bag in the freezer. These scraps add flavor and depth to the stock.

Simmer Slowly: Simmer the stock gently over low heat to extract maximum flavor from the ingredients. Avoid boiling, as it can result in a cloudy stock.

Skim the Surface: Skim off any foam or impurities that rise to the surface during cooking to ensure a clear and flavorful stock.

Strain Carefully: Once the stock is ready, strain it through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove any solids and achieve a clear liquid.

Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe

1 whole chicken carcass or about 2-3 pounds of chicken bones (necks, backs, wings, etc.)
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
Handful of fresh parsley stems (optional)
10 cups of water (or enough to cover the ingredients)


  1. If you’re using a whole chicken carcass, remove any excess skin or fat and chop it into smaller pieces. If you’re using chicken bones, you can leave them as they are.
  2. In a large stockpot, combine the chicken carcass or bones, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, and parsley stems.Pour enough water over the ingredients to cover them completely.
  3. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let the stock simmer gently, uncovered, for about 2-3 hours.
  5. Skim off any foam or impurities that rise to the surface during this time.
  6. After simmering, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool slightly.
  7. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a clean container or another pot. Discard the solids (chicken bones and vegetables).
  8. Let the stock cool completely before transferring it to containers for storage. Store the chicken stock in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days, or freeze it for longer storage.

This homemade chicken stock is perfect for soups, stews, sauces, and more! Adjust the seasoning and ingredients according to your taste preferences. Enjoy!

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