16 December 2007

Chicken and Dumplings that Don't Take All Day

With wind threatening to rip the Christmas lights off of my balcony and with exam week in full swing, the time has definitely come for serious comfort food. And to me, it doesn't get any more comforting than chicken and dumplings.

There is a long-standing point of contention between my parents as to whether the dumplings in the chicken and dumplings should be simply dropped into the stew, or rolled out like biscuits and then dropped into the stew. Personally, I like to drop mine in, so that's what I did - after all, comfort food should inherently have no rules.

Chicken and Dumplings
Very loosely adapted from The Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook.

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 carrots, sliced thinly
3 celery stalks, sliced thinly
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into slightly larger than bite-sized pieces
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 cup milk

1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a very large saucepan or soup/stock pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook until softened.
2. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the paprika. Season the chicken on all sides and toss with the vegetables. Add the water and chicken stock. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
3. While the chicken is simmering, mix the flour, baking soda, salt and milk into a dough. It will be very thick.
4. After fifteen minutes, drop the dumplings into the stew with a teaspoon (the kind you eat with, not the kind you measure with) or with a small cookie scoop. Do not stir. Cover and simmer for fifteen more minutes.

- You could use any chicken parts that you like, I just prefer thighs.
- The dumplings are very dense. I happen to like them that way, but if you don't, cutting some shortening or butter (1-2 tablespoons) should make the texture a bit lighter.

In the midst of studying, I'm reading... Atonement: A Novel, by Ian McEwan.

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