Posts Tagged ‘dumplings’

Peep’s Not-So-Traditional Chicken & Dumplings

My grandma would probably lecture me for this recipe.  It’s not “traditional”, which I guess goes right along with the bulk of my personality!  Traditionally you’re supposed to boil the chicken in the pot.  I just have a thing against stewed or boiled chicken.  I have to admit, this is the first time I’ve made this dish myself and it originally wasn’t meant to be chicken and dumplings.  I was aiming for a pot pie, but didn’t want to mess with making a pie dough after Bikenut’s comment that he wasn’t thrilled with the pre-made crust the last time we used it.

Regardless of the original intent, the process was going to be the same, just with a little less thickening at the end.  So, I went off to Whole Foods and bought what I needed, came home and got started.  I think most people wouldn’t go through all the same trouble I did for this dish, and that’s fine.  Not everyone is insane like me, thankfully.  But I’m telling you, there’s a world of difference when you do it all yourself.  Sort of like that summer when I grew tomatoes in the backyard and thought they were the best tomatoes in the world, which is something coming from someone that still doesn’t like tomatoes to this day.

But I digress… where this recipe takes a turn from the traditional chicken & dumplings is right out of the gate.  Rather than boiling or stewing the chicken, I roasted it in the oven.  I like the flavor and juiciness of roasted chicken, so it seemed the natural way to go about starting things off.  It’s a little more work, but I really think it’s worth it for the flavor and texture.  Because I didn’t boil the chicken, I needed chicken broth.  I didn’t want to use store-bought broth and opted to roast the chicken bones after pulling the meat off, then boiling the bones with the same spices I used to season the chicken (along with a couple bay leaves and some parsley) in order to make a broth.  After that, we rejoin the chicken & dumplings highway that most people travel.

It is definitely an investment in terms of time, but I thought it turned out amazingly well and totally worth the time spent.   Sorry, Grandma!

(If you’re in a bit more of a rush, there’s a shortcut at the end of the recipe below.)

Peep’s Not-So-Traditional Chicken & Dumplings

Ingredients:

  • 6 whole chicken legs (thigh and drumstick, skin on)
  • Spice mix #1: Garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, dried sage, sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 4 cups of water
  • Spice mix #2: Dried parsley, 2 bay leaves, plus Spice mix #1
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 4 ribs of celery, chopped (with leaves)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into large dice
  • 2-3 Tbsp flour
  • 2-3 Tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup of all-purpose baking mix (I used Trader Joe’s Pancake and All-Purpose Baking Mix)
  • 1/3 cup of half & half (or milk)
  • 1 tsp dried parsley flakes

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Season chicken legs with spice mix #1, roughly 1 teaspoon of each to cover all six legs.
  2. Roast legs in oven for about 1 hour, until juices run clear.  Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle.
  3. Remove skin and discard (or enjoy a little treat.)  Remove meat from bones, cover with foil and set aside along with drippings.  Place bones in a large cast iron dutch oven and return to oven to roast at 350°F for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Remove cast iron pot from oven and place directly on the stovetop over medium heat.  Add four cups of water, or enough to just cover the bones.  Add spice mix #2, roughly 1 teaspoon each of sage and thyme, 2 teaspoons each of remaining spices.  Cover and simmer over medium heat for at least 1 hour.  Taste for flavoring and adjust spices to taste.  Remove bones from pot and discard.
  5. Add chicken meat, drippings, carrots, celery, onion, and potato to the broth.  Simmer 15-20 minutes over medium/medium-low heat, or until vegetables are tender.
  6. In a small pot, melt butter.  Add flour and a dash each of spice mix #1.  Stir together and allow flour to cook, about 1-2 minutes.  Add to stew, stir,  cover and simmer over medium-low heat while preparing the dumpling batter.  (You could also use potato flakes to thicken instead, or in addition if you want to thicken it further.)
  7. For dumplings, combine baking mix, half & half, and parsley flakes in a small bowl.  When stew is simmering, add dumpling batter, one tablespoon at a time to the stew.  Once all dumplings (about 8 of them) have been dropped, cover and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes.  Do not uncover for at least 10 minutes!
  8. Check doneness of dumplings by inserting a toothpick into the center.  Toothpick should come out clean.  (My dumplings were still really wet on top, so I ended up gently flipping them after 12 minutes and cooking for another 5 minutes or so.)
  9. Serve stew in a bowl with 2 dumplings per serving.

SHORTCUT:  If you’re looking for a quicker version for a weeknight, you could use a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken at the market, or leftover cooked chicken, and store-bought chicken broth then skip ahead to Step 5 in the instructions above.