Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Chicken and Dumplings

Merry Christmas everybody!!  As always, the Christmas vacation flew by, even with some extra days off to extend the festivities.  We've had lots of fun with family and friends, plenty of good food, and maybe a cocktail or three.  Santa kicked ass this year, he's such a great guy.  We're still knee deep in wrapping paper and playing with our new toys.  I hope you had a fantastic Christmas, if you celebrate that sort of thing. 

Chicken soup might be good for the soul, but chicken and dumplings are good for the everything.  Maybe you call it chicken and biscuits.  Call it what you want, just make sure it's on your dinner table this winter.  Like mac-n-cheese or lasagna, this meal delivers when you need some comfortable food.  It might be super cold out and you're yearning for a tasty hot meal.  This dish is a winner when you have a cold or a touch of the flu bug and need some yummy broth in your tummy.  It's best when made with homemade chicken stock.  You are stashing your chicken carcasses, wing tips, and other bits and pieces of chickens in the freezer right? Right?  Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight? 

 My recipe notes-

For the chicken, plenty of options.  I baked some chicken thighs seasoned with S&P, let them cool a bit and then chopped up the meat.  You can make your own thighs, breasts, tenders, or buy one already cooked.  For the peas, I like the frozen variety over the canned kind.  If you don't like to shroom then feel free to omit the fungi.

If you don't have a food processor, mix the dough in a large bowl with a spatula.

When making dough, super cold butter is best.  Diced into cubes and a 10 minute chill in the freezer does the trick.  And when you have the dough made, don't keep it right next to the stove or anywhere else warm, you don't want the butter to melt yet. 

Chicken and Dumplings
6 servings

6 TB unsalted butter, 4 TB 1/2" dice and very cold
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 lb of mushrooms- cremini, shiitake, or some of each
1 large carrot, 1/3" dice
3/4 C dry white wine
1 1/4 C AP flour plus 1 TB
3 C low-sodium chicken stock, homemade preferred
3 C cooked chicken, chopped
3/4 C baby peas, defrosted
1/4 ts dried thyme
1/2 C whole milk plus 2 TB

For the dough-
Combine 1 1/4 C flour and the very cold pieces of butter in your food pro.  Pulse 5-10 times until the butter is cut up to pea-size chunks, then add the milk.  Pulse just until the dough comes together, do not over mix.  Form gently into a ball, set aside. 

For the chicken-
Fire up the oven to 425F.  In your big ass cast-iron dutch oven, melt 2 TB of the butter over medium heat, then add the onion, carrot and shrooms.  Cook, stirring often, until the veg is soft, about 6 minutes.  Add in the wine, let that cook down for about 90 seconds, stirring.  Sprinkle in 1 TB of flour, stir to coat well for about a minute.  Introduce the stock and thyme, season with a touch of S&P.  Bring to a boil and then let simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the stock thickens a bit.  Stir in the chicken and the peas.

Bring it home-
Using a spoon or TB, make your dumplings slightly larger than 1 TB.  You'll have about 20 or so, place them evenly over the chicken soup in the dutch oven.  Bake for 25 minutes, uncovered, then broil on high for 2-3 minutes to brown the dumplings, watching carefully of course and rotating if necessary.  Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. 

It's chicken soup with a breaded roof.

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