Tomatoes and Dumplings is probably my second favorite meal my mom makes. Although I like it best without chicken, my Mom usually does put chicken in the recipe and we did use it here. Jay has been butchering whole chickens in our tiny kitchen and we needed to get rid of some chicken thighs and legs. (Saves us lots of money to buy whole chickens and it has been delicious to have homemade stock and really fresh chicken). Tomatoes and Dumplings is an extremely cheap and simple meal, that takes a while to cook down and is worth the wait. The best part is the sweet tomatoes paired with buttery, shortcut dumplings. You won’t be sorry you were able to throw this in a pot for a few hours while delicious smells fill your house and you can get other stuff done at the same time. And of course it is delicious followed up by some ice cream!
Chop the yellow onion into large-ish pieces. They will shrink as you cook them, and you want recognizable onion pieces. (If you want garlic in this recipe, you could also chop it here).
Saute the onions (maybe garlic) in 1T of oil or butter. (I just used vegetable oil and the onions developed a nice golden color. Once the onions are soft, add in the 3 cans of tomatoes. You can break the tomatoes up with your hands at this point if you want, or you can let them cook and then squish them with your wooden spoon or even better, a potato masher! (option 2 sounds like a lot more fun!)
I left the pot on medium heat so it was simmering for about 2 hours. You could probably make this process happen faster if you used diced tomatoes, but the lengthy cooking process really develops the flavor. After 2 hours the tomatoes should be pretty soft, and easy to squish/break up. It should also be a deeper red color. Next, I added salt, pepper, and a little bit of sugar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes.
While waiting for the tomatoes I cut the chicken thighs into bite size pieces (my Mom shreds the chicken) and seared it in a pan for a few minutes. I didn’t cook the chicken all the way through because it is going to continue cooking in the pot. After the 2 hours of cooking the tomatoes, add the chicken and bring to a boil.