Here in the foothills of Pikes Peak we are used to capricious weather, sometimes 40° swings in a single day. Spring is our most fickle season as ladies schedule their pedicures yet keep their boots close at hand. Meal planning in the spring is tricky if your food-mood follows the forecast like mine. Comfort foods mixed with lighter fare—grilling one day, digging out the soup pot the next—such is the cooking adventure of spring.
Last week’s weather inspired Spinach-Strawberry Salad, the overcast skies today call for Chicken & Dumplings (with a slight twist). This recipe is a compilation from various sources; I suppose everyone has their own version. We prefer flavorful boneless chicken thighs, just a touch of cayenne for its flavor dimension, and white whole wheat flour to make the dumplings. As spring flip-flops from sunshine to snow or rain, this American classic with stewed chicken and fluffy dumplings is like the warm blanket we reach for as we await the steady sunbeams of summer.
Chicken & Dumplings
1 cup flour
3 teaspoons sea salt
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper
3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs — trimmed of fat; cut into 2-3″ pieces
1/8 cup dry sherry
6 cups chicken stock — or 2 bouillon cubes added to chicken broth
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup fresh parsley — finely chopped
1 whole bay leaf
1 large onion — chopped
2 cup celery — coarsely chopped
3 cups mushrooms — sliced
3 cups carrots — sliced into rounds
3 cloves garlic — minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1/3 cup heavy cream
coconut oil — for browning chicken
For the Dumplings:
1 1/2 cups King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour
1/2 cup parmesan cheese — grated
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp unrefined sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk
3 tbsp unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 375°.
FOR THE STEW:
Cut chicken into 2-3 inch pieces. Combine dredging ingredients in a resealable bag. Shake chicken in bag to coat with flour, shaking off excess as it is added to the pot. In a deep ovenproof pot, heat enough oil to cover the pan over med heat. Brown the chicken on each side and remove to a paper towel lined platter. Pour off all put a couple tablespoons of the oil.
Place vegetables, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf in pan with an additional tablespoon of oil, if needed. Stir to mix well and allow to caramelize, about 8-10 minutes. Deglaze the pan of vegetables with the sherry; simmer until nearly evaporated. Stir in 1/4 c flour to coat vegetables and stir so flour is absorbed. Gradually add broth. Return chicken to pot, add cream and parsley, and bring to a low simmer. While stew is simmering on low, make dumplings.
FOR THE DUMPLINGS:
Blend dry ingredients for dumplings. Heat milk and butter until butter melts; blend into dry ingredients. The hot milk sets the starch so the dumpling does not fall apart. Shape dough into golf ball sized balls making sure to not over mix or over handle the dough.
Once the stew has a gentle bubble, add the dumplings, resting them on top of the stew. Cover with the lid and put the pot into the oven for 20 minutes. It is important to not lift the lid during these 20 minutes; you want the steam to remain inside, as that is what cooks the dumplings.
Serve with French green beans on the side.
NOTE: If using all-purpose flour for the dumplings, decrease milk by two tablespoons.
Also posted on the following Blog Hops:
The Healthy Home Economist Monday Mania
The Nourishing Gourmet Pennywise Platter Thursdays
EKat’s Kitchen: Friday Potluck