Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Go-To Tuesday

Every cook needs a repertoire of go-to recipes he or she can turn to in a pinch. Over the course of the last few years, I have built up my arsenal of these recipes through a process of trial and error (and oooooh, the errors!!), and I thought it might be nice to share some of these with you here. So feel free to print these out and add them to your recipe boxes. I promise that they're that good. :)

No recipe collection can do without a good go-to for chicken and dumplings. There is just something so comforting found in a hearty bowl of this delicious stew, and something about the first hint of crispness that comes in the early fall has me yearning to make a batch! Matt was actually the one who mentioned this recipe this morning when I asked him what he would like to eat for dinner, so tonight marked the first chicken and dumplings of the year.

In my experience, the thing that separates this recipe from the others I have tried is the dumplings themselves. They are seriously so easy, it's just plain silly. Really. If you can mix with a fork, you will do great! I have tried other recipes that call for rolling out the dough, in the process creating such a FINE mess, I think the resulting dish could have been used as mortar for new homes in the area. With this recipe, I simply use my mini scoop (the size I use for cookies) to dollop evenly sized portions on the simmering broth. Simple as that!

There are some steps involved in this recipe, but none is at all complicated. This is a wholesome, no-frills recipe that is sure to win rave reviews. Enjoy!

Chicken and Dumplings

For the chicken -
1-1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 leek, sliced in half moons
1 rib celery, diced1 carrot, diced
1 sweet potato, peeled, cut into large chunks
2 parsnips, peeled, diced
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 qt. low-sodium chicken broth
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. each chopped fresh sage and rosemary

For the dumplings -
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 T. Parmesan cheese, grated
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
2/3 cup whole milk
3 T. unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375 with rack in the center. Cut chicken into large pieces. Combine flour and salt, cayenne and pepper in a resealable plastic bag. Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess. In a deep oven-proof pot, heat 1 T. vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Brown half the chicken; transfer to a plate. Brown the rest of the chicken in 1 T. oil; remove. Reduce heat to medium. (Be sure to SAVE your dredging flour.)

Sweat vegetables and bay leaves in 1 T. oil until softened, 5 minutes. (Sweating means to place all of it in a pot with the oil, stir to coat, and then cover and cook, stirring occasionally. Basically a combination of sauteeing and steaming.) Deglaze with wine; simmer until nearly evaporated. Stir in remaining dredging flour to coat vegetables. Gradually add broth, stirring until smooth. Cover pot and transfer to oven; cook for 20 minutes. (While stew is in the oven, make dumpling dough.)

For the dumplings, blend dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Heat milk and butter until butter melts; blend into dry ingredients. After you remove the stew from the oven, stir in the chicken, lemon juice and herbs, then bring stew to a simmer on a burner. Shape dough into small balls (I use a small ice-cream scoop, like I use for shaping cookies) and drop the dumplings onto the simmering stew. Return pot to the oven and braise until dumplings are cooked through, about 20 minutes. You can test them for doneness with a toothpick. When it comes out clean, you're set!

1 comment:

Stacy said...

This sounds so good! I am going to try it in the coming weeks. Thanks Amy!