Saturday, December 29, 2012

Chicken Stew with Dumplings

I have to write this recipe down because we really enjoyed it, and I would love to have a reference to make it again.  I also would love for you to try making it, if you think it is something you might enjoy. 

We stepped outside our comfort zone this week and decided to make home made chicken stock.  We have done home made turkey broth before, and something about the smell of it cooking on the stove deterred us from wanting to eat it.  My sister gave us the advice to throw in a bunch of veggie trimmings and a whole head of garlic and that it will taste and smell better. 

Since we did not host Christmas dinner this year, and we did not have the privilege of dealing with the leftovers, we decided to roast a whole chicken on Boxing Day.  We had our supper and then I picked the meat off the bones and froze the meat.  I immediately threw the chicken carcass in a soup pot with some water as well as some veggie trimmings from our Sweet Potato soup we made on Monday (ie celery, onion, sweet potato and broccoli trimmings) and some garlic.  I boiled it for an hour and a half and after tasting it added a bit of salt.  It wasn't bad, and the smell was not overwhelmingly chickeny, which was nice. 

Here is the recipe for the stew that was our reason for making the chicken stock.

4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
3 red potatoes, chopped
3-4 cups of chicken stock
1 cup milk
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4-3/4 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste, or leave it out if you don't like spice)
salt, to taste
2 cups of cooked chicken, chopped (we had one breast and two thighs left from our roasted chicken)
1 cup frozen peas

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup corn meal
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 heaping tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp melted butter
1 1/4 cups milk

Melt butter in a large pot/dutch oven.  Add in onions and celery and saute until they start to brown.  Add in thyme, turmeric and cayenne pepper.  Once the spices are stirred in sprinkle in flour and stir until it absorbs most of the oil/moisture.  Then add the chicken stock and stir until thick.  Add milk, potatoes and carrots.  Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until .the potatoes are tender, approx 20-30 minutes.  Stir in the chopped chicken and frozen peas and bring to a simmer again.  Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes.  During this time mix up the dumpling dough.  Stir the dry ingredients together then add the milk and melted butter.  Allow the batter to sit for a few minutes to rest.  Then make sure the stew is simmering steadily and drop spoonfuls of batter on top of the stew but do not overcrowd them because they do spread out.  When you are done spooning it on top, place the lid on the top and do not remove for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes you an test the dumplings to see if they are done by poking them with a toothpick.  If it comes out clean they are done.

I am pretty sure that my mom may have made dumplings once or twice when I was a kid, but I don't really remember them.  I don't know why, but I expected them to be much doughier than they were  They were kind of bready, like biscuits, inside and a bit doughy on the bottom from sitting in the stew.  I might play around with different dumpling recipes, but the stew was so flavorful and just had a nice bit of spice from the cayenne pepper.  Yum :) 

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