Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Chicken and Dumplings
I don't believe chicken and dumplings is a dish associated with Easter but for some reason that is what I wanted. It turned out to be a really good thing and perfect for the rainy and very cool (cold!) spring day.
Other than the cooking of the actual chicken, this is essentially the recipe of Chef Tyler Florence. Chef went to great pains to make a roasted chicken, then he picked the meat off the bones, discarding the skin, and reserved the bones to make chicken stock. While I'm sure his roasted chicken made a beautiful presentation on TV, it didn't make sense to me. If he was going to discard the skin anyway, why bother with the roasting step? And making the stock in a separate step seemed like nothing more than a waste of time.
Since I was not presenting my chicken on TV or even outside my kitchen, I went with poaching. While poaching does not result in a glamorous bird, it does serve the dual purpose of cooking the chicken and making the broth in the same step. Poaching also creates chicken meat which is not only extremely flavorful, but also has a very tender, almost velvety texture.
I did make Chef Florence's Supreme Sauce which was heavenly and his Dumplings which were light and fluffy and acted like little sponges, sucking up the delicious sauce.
1 3-pound whole chicken
2 carrots, cut into large chunks
2 celery stalks, cut into large chunks
1 onion, peeled and quartered
Several whole peeled garlic cloves, to taste
Several whole peppercorns, to taste
Several stems fresh parsley
Several stems fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. salt
Place vegetables, herbs and spices into bottom of a large stock pot. Place cleaned chicken on top. Add water, to the top of the chicken. Put the pan over medium and bring to a slow simmer. Do not boil the chicken or it will be tough. Lower heat and cook the chicken, covered, at a bare simmer for 2 hours.
Remove the chicken from the broth and when cool enough to handle, shred the meat, discarding the skin and bones.
Strain the broth.
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. oil
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
8 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
Heat oil and butter in a large Dutch oven. Add carrot, celery, onion, and garlic. Saute until the vegetables are soft. Stir in the flour. Continue to stir and cook for about 2 minutes to coat the vegetables with the flour. Slowly pour in the chicken stock, a cup or so at a time, stirring well after each addition.
Let sauce simmer until it is thickened, about 15 minutes. Stir in heavy cream. Fold in the chicken meat and bring the mixture up to a simmer. Using 2 spoons, carefully drop heaping tablespoons of the dumpling batter into the hot mixture. Let the dumplings poach for 10 to 15 minutes until they are firm and puffy.
Season with freshly ground black pepper and garnish with chopped parsley.
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
Sift together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Lightly beat the eggs and milk together. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and gently fold. Mix just until the dough comes together.