Showing posts with label Chicken And Dumplings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chicken And Dumplings. Show all posts

Monday, April 23, 2018

The Ultimate Comfort Food: Chicken & Dumplings

No matter the time of year, there is a need for comfort food. Winter cries out for hot soups and hearty stews. Fresh produce that had been lost during the cold months is celebrated in the spring. Summer's bounty calls for salads, fresh fruit and bbq. Fall reminds us we are mortal as we say goodbye to fresh produce in a last celebration of corn, figs and leafy greens.

Through all the seasons, I enjoy chicken and dumplings because its rich broth is nourishing. Adding a heap of farm-to-table vegetables brightens and the sweet succulence of braised chicken and wholesome dumplings adds depth and umami to the dish.

What is more, this hearty, flavorful dish is inexpensive and easy-to-make.


The basics are straightforward. Fresh chicken. A handful of favorite vegetables. A cup of white flour. A bit of half and half. A cube of butter. Homemade chicken stock. A few seasonings.

Simmer. Cover. Uncover and serve! Easy-peasy.

Farm-to-Table Vegetables, Chicken and Dumplings

Use a good quality organic chicken and buy farmers market produce when available. 

If you have dried whole shiitake mushrooms, use them. They add a distinctive flavor, different from the delicate flavor of thinly sliced shiitakes.

Use vegetables you love. And lots of them. English peas. Squash rounds. Kabocha chunks. Roasted sweet potatoes. Green beans. Kale. Shredded cabbage. Chopped turnips. My preference is to tilt the balance towards the fresh produce, plating great mounds of vegetables with a leg and a wing or two pieces of breast.

The dish can be covered and served the next day or divided into smaller covered containers and frozen for up to three months.

Yield: 4 servings

Time to prep: 15 minutes (if you already have chicken stock) or 1 hour (including time to make chicken stock)

Time to cook: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes - 2 hours, 15 minutes

Ingredients

1 whole chicken approximately 3 lbs, preferably organic, cut apart as described below
1 medium yellow onion, washed, ends trimmed, outer skin removed, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 cup green beans, washed, ends removed, cut into 1" long pieces
1 cup broccoli florets, washed and cut into 1" pieces or broccoli leaves, washed, shredded
2 cups shiitake mushrooms, washed, stem end trimmed, thinly sliced or 2 cups dried whole shiitake mushrooms, washed
1/4 cup Italian parsley, leaves only, washed, finely chopped
1 garlic, peeled, finely chopped (optional)
1/2 cup celery, washed, ends trimmed, cut into 1/2" pieces (optional)
4 cups homemade chicken stock, as described below
1 large carrot, washed, trimmed, peeled, cut into 1/2" thick rounds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne powder (optional)


Dumpling ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour, white
2 tablespoons sweet (unsalted) butter, cut into fine bits
1 scallion, washed, ends trimmed, green and white parts finely chopped or 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, leaves only, washed, finely chopped
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
1/2-1/3 cup half and half, cream or whole milk


Directions

Break down the whole chicken by cutting off the legs, thighs, wings and breasts.

Place the carcass into a large pot, cover with water and simmer covered for 45 minutes. Strain through a colander, reserving liquid in a bowl. Let the carcass cool and remove the meat.

Use what stock is needed for the dish, reserving the rest covered in the refrigerator for up to three days or in the freezer for up to six months. The meat pulled off the carcass can be added to the braise or submerged in stock and frozen for later use.

Separate legs from thighs. Separate the three parts of the wings, adding the wing tips to the stock pot. Cut chicken breasts into three almost equal sized pieces. If removing skin from the parts, add to the stock.


In a mixing bowl, add flour, cut up butter, scallion (or Italian parsley), baking soda, sea salt and black pepper. Using a fork, mix well. Slowly add milk, stirring until thickened. The resulting mixture should be like thick batter. If the mixture is too runny, add a tablespoon of flour. Cover and set aside.


For the braise, in a large pot, heat olive oil and sauté the chicken parts. Use tongs to turn the parts until each piece is browned on all sides. Remove and set aside.

Sauté the onions and garlic (optional) in the pot with the chicken fat and oil until softened. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add chicken stock. Return browned chicken pieces to the pot. Stir and simmer 20 minutes.

Add vegetables.


To make the dumplings, use two soup spoons to create small rounds of dough. Drop each dumpling into the simmering liquid. Make room for each dumpling so they do not touch because they will expand as they cook. Add all the dumplings and cover.

Adjust the heat so the stock simmers but does not boil.

Cook 30 minutes and serve immediately. Place several dumplings into each bowl, adding a protein and a good helping of vegetables with several tablespoons of gravy.

Serve hot.

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