Monday, September 21, 2009

Chicken and Dumplings

Tonight the 3Cs and their parents came for dinner. I decided to make some good old-fashioned comfort food: Chicken and Dumplings. I recently bought a Cook's Illustrated that focuses on soups and stews (two of my favorite things). I don't subscribe to this magazine, but I love the detective-like approach they take with their recipes. I've only made a few recipes from CI and have been pleased with the results. I followed the recipe for Chicken and Dumplings pretty closely. My changes were using chicken stock (Kitchen Basics brand) instead of chicken broth, substituting an additional 3/4 cup chicken stock for the same amount of sherry, and omitting the English peas and chopped parsley. Next time I make it, I plan use the sherry and to pre-bake the dumplings a bit before adding them to the stew. The taste-testers at dinner thought this was a keeper!

Chicken and Dumplings
5 cups chicken stock
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
5 Tbsp. butter
4 carrots, sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sherry or chicken stock
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder (this isn't a typo)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups heavy cream

1. Bring stock to a boil in Dutch oven; add in chicken breasts. Return to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes or until chicken is just cooked. Place chicken on a cutting board, and cool for 30 minutes. Pour stock into another bowl. Once cool, shred chicken in the mixer with the paddle attachment or use 2 forks.
2. Melt butter in same Dutch oven. Add in carrots and onion, and sauté for 10 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften. Add in garlic, and cook 1 minute. Stir in 6 Tbsp. flour, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in sherry, scraping bottom of pan. Gradually stir in reserved stock,shredded chicken, cream and next 4 ingredients. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring often, 20 minutes.
3. Stir together 2 cups flour and next 3 ingredients.
4. Discard bay leaves and increase heat to medium. Use a small scoop to drop dumplings into stew; cook until dumplings have doubled in size.

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