Chicken and dumplings

This is real comfort food for many people, myself included.

One 2.5 – 3 lb chicken
2 celery stalks, cleaned and cut into 1/2″ slices
Carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2″ slices, about 1 cup
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into dice about the same size as the celery and carrots
1 cup frozen peas
4 TB butter
2 TB all-purpose flour

The dumplings:

2 c cake flour (preferred) or all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 TB butter, melted
3/4 c milk
1/4 c minced fresh herbs such as parsley or sage, or 1 TB dry herbs

Remove giblets from the chicken and put the chicken in a pot that’s not too much wider than the chicken. Add just enough water to cover and a big pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, skimming any foam that collects, then cover and simmer until done, about 40 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and, when cool enough to handle, remove and shred the meat into bite-size pieces. Return the bones and skin to the pot and simmer for another 30 minutes. Strain stock into a bowl, skim off the fat, and discard the solids.

In a wide, shallow pan with a close-fitting cover (I like to use a rectangular electric skillet), melt the butter over medium high heat and add the celery, carrots, onion, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring now and then, for about 5 minutes until the veggies just start to brown. Reduce heat to medium and sprinkle in the 2 TB flour. Stir until the flour is all incorporated. Add about 1.5 quarts of the chicken stock and stir, then cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 30 min.

While the veg are cooking, prepare the dumplings. Thoroughly mix the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the butter, milk, and herbs and stir with a wooden spoon until all the flour is incorporated. You’ll end up with a sticky, shaggy dough. Do not overmix, this can lead to tough dumplings. Set aside.

When the veg are done, stir in the chicken, peas, several grindings of black pepper, and more salt if needed. Return to a simmer. Add more stock if you like (extra stock can be frozen). Using 2 spoons, drop the dumpling dough by generous tablespoons onto the surface of the simmering stew, leaving about an inch between. Cover tightly and maintain a simmer for 15 minutes without lifting the cover. Remove a dumpling and test it to be sure it is done. If not, cover and simmer for another 5 min. Serve hot.

Variation: Increase the amounts of celery, carrots, and mushrooms by about half. Use only half of the chicken meat, reserving the remainder for another use.

Explore posts in the same categories: Poultry, Stews

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