Somehow within the last week, it seems we have gone from beautiful fall weather directly into winter with all of this talk about snow hitting the DC region already. Hard to believe! So, what better way to spend your weekend than within the toasty confines of your toasty abode cooking up so good old fashioned comfort food?
Chicken & Dumpling Stew is one of those tried and true favorites that warms you from the inside out when the weather begins to dip lower on the thermometer, and much better for you than sneaking into that extra-large bucket of trick-or-treat candy calling your name from the front doorway.
Homemade Chicken & Dumpling Stew
- 3 pounds chicken thighs
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, separated
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
- 4 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 2 ribs celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 garlic clove, slightly smashed
- 1 large onion, minced
- 6 Tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup dry sherry
- 4 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 3 branches fresh thyme leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 3 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ bunch chives, chopped
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- For the Stew: Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tablespoon of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of the chicken and cook until golden on both sides, about 10 minutes. Do not cook all the way through because you will be cooking the chicken in the stew. Transfer the chicken to a plate and remove the browned skin. Pour off the chicken fat. Return the pot to medium-high heat and repeat with the remaining oil and the remaining chicken. Pour off any chicken fat. Let the chicken cool and then shred the chicken, discarding the bones and skin if you are using. Set chicken aside.
- Add the butter to the Dutch oven and melt over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the flour. Whisk in the sherry, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in the broth, milk, thyme, and bay leaves. Add the chicken, with any accumulated juices, into the pot. Cover and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked and tender, about 1 hour. When done, remove thyme stalks, bay leaves and garlic.
- For the Dumplings: Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add the chives and stir into flour mixture. Heat the milk and fat in a pot on the stove or a microwave-safe bowl on high until just warm (do not over-heat), about 1 minute. Stir the warmed milk mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until incorporated and smooth.
- Return the stew to a simmer, stir in the peas and parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Gather a golf-ball-sized portion of the dumpling batter onto a soup spoon, then push the dumpling onto the stew using a second spoon about 1/4 inch apart (you should have about 18 dumplings). Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the dumplings have doubled in size, 15 to 18 minutes. Serve the stew in shallow bowls with two or three dumplings.
(Recipe/image courtesy of L’Acadamie de Cuisine in Washington, DC)