Chicken and Dumplings is one of my all time favorite comfort foods. With the weather windy and wet from hurricane Sandy, I needed a comforting dinner I could cuddle up with. Not only did this hit the spot, it made the apartment smell wonderful. I ate it for lunch and dinner for the next 3 days.
This recipe starts by making a chicken stock. Homemade chicken stock is significantly better than canned. It’s always been on my list to make a lot of and freeze but I’ve never done it.
I placed a whole 3 1/2 pound chicken in a dutch oven with a clove of garlic (cut horizontally), 6 sprigs of thyme, 4-5 whole black peppercorn, 2 tbs of salt, and 2 bay leafs. I added filtered water until the chicken was just submerged. I brought it to a boil and then let simmer for an hour. Nastiness will start to pile up on the top- just spoon it out and throw it away.
While the stock was cooking, I made the biscuits. These aren’t just plain old biscuits they are fancy chive-buttermilk biscuits. Start by sifting the dry ingredients together-2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt. Then mix the wet ingredients together- 2 eggs, 1/4 cup chopped chives, 3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk. It will be wet and sticky.
I was pleasantly surprised when the recipe said to shred the chicken from the stock to use later in the recipe. In the process of making the stock, the flavor is all sucked out of the chicken and most dishes say to throw away the chicken and use shredded roasted chicken breasts. It always seemed like such a waste. I don’t think using the already cooked chicken took away from the dish though.
After an hour your stock will be nice and flavorful, take out your chicken and pull it. Then drain the stock through a strainer to pick out all the leftover pieces.
Heat 2 tbs of butter and 2 tbs of oil in your dutch oven. Add in your chopped veggies – 2 carrots, diced 2 stalks celery, diced, 2 cloves garlic, minced, and 2 bay leaves. Let these saute for about 5 minutes. Then you’ll be ready to make your roux- add a 1/4 c of flour.
Stir around for about 2 minutes so the starchy taste is removed. Then start adding 6 cups of your stock 1 cup at a time while stirring constantly. Then add in 1 cup of frozen peas and 1 cup of frozen pearl onions (Don’t skip the pearl onions- they really make the dish). Let the sauce simmer for about 20 minutes until it thickens. Then add in the shredded chicken and 1/4 cup of heavy cream.
Now comes the fun part! Bring your soup to a simmer. Make little (they will multiply in size) balls out of the dough. It will be very sticky. Drop them into your soup. They should cover the top of your soup but don’t crowd them.
Let these simmer for about 15 minutes and the viola! you have a delicious dish.
Here’s the full recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/chicken-and-dumplings-recipe2/index.html