Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Chicken and Dumplings

This hearty stew makes for great comfort food on a cold winter's day. The dumplings, when cooked properly, are light, tender and fluffy. I've omitted the traditional use of cream or milk in this recipe because I think the dumplings themselves give this not-too-thick stew just the right consistency when they release some of their starch while cooking, rendering it rich and satisfying without the extra fat. 

5 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (or 3.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs and 1 1/2 lbs. chicken wings)
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
2-3 sprigs of thyme
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. Season chicken liberally on all sides with salt and pepper.

2. Heat 4-5 tbsp. of olive oil over medium high heat in a large cast iron pot or Dutch oven. Place the chicken in a single layer in the pot and let brown for 3-5 minutes without turning. Turn the chicken over and continue browning another 3-5 minutes. 

3. To the same pot, add the diced celery, onion, carrots, garlic, parsley, thyme, and bay leaves. Saute until the veggies are lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

4. Add 8 cups of chicken broth and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

5. Remove the chicken pieces with tongs to a bowl and set aside to let cool slightly. break up the chicken meat into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

6. Pour the stew through a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl; discard the solids. Pour the strained stock back into the pot and bring up to a boil. Add the chicken meat, 4 chopped carrots and 3 ribs of chopped celery about cook for about 10 minutes or until the veggies are barely tender. 

7. In the meantime, make the dumplings:


2 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 cup milk
4 tbsp. vegetable oil

1. Stir the dry ingredients together in a bowl.

2. Add milk and oil and stir until just combined to form a stiff dough.
3. Shape the dough into small 1 1/2" balls (should make about 30).

8. Reduce heat then gently add the dumplings to the top of the simmering (not boiling) stew. Continue until all of the dumplings have been added (the dumplings should cover the top of the stew but not crowded together). Cover and let the dumplings poach for about 20 minutes, turning each over once, until they are light and fluffy and the stew slightly thickened. 

9. Taste and re-season the stew with salt and pepper if needed. Ladle into individual serving bowls and garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

NOTE: The 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 on both sides. 

To the same pot, add the veggies and herbs.

Saute until lightly browned. Add the chicken stock and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 1 1/2 to 2 hours, covered.

Remove chicken pieces and tear into large bite-sized pieces; set aside.
If the stock is too reduced, you can add more stock at this time. 

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

Pour the strained stock back into the pot and add the shredded chicken, 4 chopped carrots and 3 ribs of diced celery. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until the veggies have softened.

In the meantime, make the dumplings. 
First, combine the dry ingredients together in a bowl.

 Next, add the milk and oil to the dry ingredients. 
Gently mix until just combined to form a stiff dough. 

Shape the dough into 1 1/2" balls (should yield 30).

 Poach the dumplings in the simmering stock, covered, turning each one over once, or until they are tender and fluffy - about 15-20 minutes.

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


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