Thursday, December 16, 2010
Chicken and Dumplings "lil fluffy mounds of love"
It's very cold here in Georgia. This time of year I love to prepare soups and various comfort dishes.
When I think of warm comfort food, I always think of Chicken and Dumplings. This dish is hot, creamy and very satisfying on these cold, cloudy winter days.
There is not one way to prepare chicken and dumplings. Many recipes are out there and everyone has their own choice. Thick soup (stew), soupy soup (stew), rolled dumplings, drop dumplings, veggies or no veggies. Really there are many ways to prepare this dish and there is not a right way or a wrong way.
This is a fully “from scratch” recipe and it does require time and work. Chicken and Dumplings is not a diet wise recipe. It is winter and we are “hibernating”. However, when you finish the recipe, You have created ‘lil fluffy dumplings of love that are filling and make you close your eyes with the first bite and think “Well worth the work.”
Here is my recipe for chicken and dumplings: This recipe makes a HUGE batch and can easily be halved.
6 bone in chicken breasts (may use any type of chicken) with or without skin
4 stalks celery
4 carrots broken in half
1 large onion peeled and cut in half
4 cloves garlic
4 bay leaves
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp celery seed
2 tsp peppercorns
2 tsp salt
3 cups of carrots peeled and chopped
3 stalks of celery chopped
3 cups frozen peas
1 onion diced
2 tablespoons of oil or butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 stick unsalted butter
3 tsp unsalted butter
2 cups all purpose flour
¼ cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup whole milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Tarragon to top dumplings
Place into an 8 qt stock pot
Stalks of celery
Two onion halves
4 cloves of garlic smashed
4 bay leaves
2 tsp of thyme
2 tsp of celery seed
2 tsp of peppercorns
2 tsp of salt
Add enough water to cover chicken plus a few inches over so that chicken “floats” in water. Stir. Bring to a boil for an hour and occasionally skim froth off the top of water.
When chicken is fully cooked, remove and set aside.
Strain broth and discard remaining vegetables.
Allow pot to cool and wash pot or use another.
Allow chicken to cool and then debone. (I always let the chicken bones cool, freeze and re use for a second broth).
Place cooked chicken into broth and turn broth on medium heat.
Meanwhile heat skillet with 2 tbsp of oil or butter and place diced carrots, celery, and onion, cook until onion becomes translucent.
Place vegetables into broth.
Continue to allow broth to heat up and bring to a simmer. While doing so begin to prepare the dumplings.
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Blend and set aside.
In a microwave safe dish place 3 tsp unsalted butter and 1 cup of milk. Melt butter and heat milk. Do not over heat.
Remove from microwave and mix into dry ingredients until a dough forms and is smooth in consistency.
Allow dumpling dough to rest 10-15 minutes.
In same skillet that vegetables were cooked in melt 1 stick of butter. When butter is melted stir in ¼ cup of all purpose flour, add a pinch of salt and pepper and stir constantly until smooth. With a ladle, ladle out two cups of the hot broth into skillet and blend into roux. When hot and smooth pour into broth, chicken and vegetables. Pour in frozen peas and 1 cup of heavy cream.
Return to a steady simmer.
With a teaspoon, gather up a mound of dumpling dough and drop into simmering stew. Continue doing so until entire top of stew is covered with floating dumplings. Place a lid tightly on pot and cook dumplings for 10 mins.
Remove lid. Flip each dumpling over with a spoon and sprinkle tarragon, salt and pepper on top of dumplings. Place lid back on pot and cook 5 more minutes.
Do not stir the stew once dumplings have been placed.
Remove pot from heat, uncover and serve alone or over mashed potatoes or noodles.