Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Chicken and Dumplings

This hearty stew makes for great comfort food on a cold winter's day. The dumpling recipe is Tyler Florence's (light, tender and fluffy) http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/chicken-and-dumplings-recipe.html, but the chicken stew is my own concoction. I've omitted the traditional use of cream or milk in this recipe because I think the roux is good enough to make a not-too-thick stew that's just the right consistency, yet still rich and satisfying. 


Ingredients:
5 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (or 3.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
Kosher salt & black pepper
4-5 tbsp. olive oil

3 stalks of celery, cut into large dice
1 large onion, cut into large dice
4 carrots, cut into large dice
1 bulb garlic, cut in half
4 sprigs Italian/flat leaf parsley
2 fresh bay leaves (or 1 dried)

8 cups no sodium chicken broth (plus extra, if needed)
4 cups water

4 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
1/4 cup flour

1. Season chicken liberally on all sides with salt and pepper.

2. Heat 4-5 tbsp. of olive oil in a large cast iron pot or Dutch oven. Brown the chicken in batches; remove and set aside on a plate or platter.

3. In the same pot, add the diced celery, onion, carrots, and garlic. Saute until the veggies are lightly browned.

4. Stir in the reserved chicken, herbs, 8 cups of chicken broth and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for 1 hour.

5. Remove the chicken pieces with tongs to a bowl and set aside to let cool slightly. Shred the chicken meat and set aside.

6. Skim off fat from the surface of the stew. 

7. Pour the stew through a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl; discard the solids. Add the reserved chicken meat back to the stock.

8. Place the pot back on the stove and blot the bottom dry with paper towels. Add 1-2 tbsp. of olive oil and saute 4 chopped carrots and 3 ribs of chopped celery about 5 minutes or until they are softened. Sprinkle in 1/4 cup of flour and cook about 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.

9. Add the reserved strained chicken stock and chicken meat to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook about 15-20 minutes until the stew has thickened a bit.

10. In the meantime, make the dumplings:

Dumplings:
2 cups flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk

1. Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl
2. Gently mix the eggs and buttermilk together in a small bowl
3. Pour the egg-buttermilk mixture into the flour and gently fold in until just mixed through (mixture would be thick and cake-like)

11. Using two tablespoons, scoop up heaping spoons of dumpling dough and gently drop them on top of the bubbling stew. Continue until all of the dumpling batter is used up (the dumplings should cover the top of the stew but not crowded together). Let the dumplings poach for about 15-20 minutes, turning each over once, until they are light and fluffy.

12. Garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

*These dumplings will soak up a lot of the chicken stock if left in the pot too long. If not serving all right away, remove the dumplings to a separate container.

 Carrots, celery, onion and garlic.

Chicken seasoned liberally with salt and pepper. 

Brown the chicken pieces and set aside. 

In the same pot, saute the onion, garlic, celery and carrots. 

Saute until lightly browned. 

Add the reserved chicken, chicken stock, water, and herbs. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 1 hour.

Remove chicken pieces (if the stock is too reduced, you can add additional stock at this time). 

Strain the stock through a fine meshed strainer over another pot or large bowl.  

Shred the chicken meat and add back to the stock. 

Saute the second batch of 4 chopped carrots and 3 celery ribs in 1-2 tbsp. olive oil and saute about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook 1-2 minutes. Add the chicken stock w/chicken meat to the pot and simmer 15-20 minutes until slightly thickened. 

In the meantime, make the dumplings: sift the dry ingredients into a bowl.  

Lightly mix together the eggs and buttermilk.  

Add the egg-buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients. Gently mix until just combined.  

Using two spoons, add the dumpling batter (heaping tablespoon each) over the simmering stew.  

Let the dumplings poach in the simmering liquid about 15-20 minutes (turn each dumpling over once) or until the dumplings are tender and fluffy.

If not serving all the dumplings right away, remove them from the stew and place them in a separate container (otherwise, they will soak up all the stock in the pot). 

Voila!

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