August 21, 2014

Chicken & Dumplings

School started on Monday. I ended my summer break last week by binge watching season 2 of The Mind of a Chef. Sean Brock is just so damn adorable. And his southern comfort food is absolutely swoon-worthy.

One recipe that I knew I wanted to make as soon as possible was his mother's version of chicken & dumplings. Here's the clip:

All last week, I needed comfort food as I watched the world implode around me. The unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, hits close to home...literally. Ferguson is only 15 miles from my front door. So I decided there was no better way to start the school year and to relieve some of the tension of current events than by inviting friends over for chicken & dumplings and pie.

Here's my version of the Brocks' recipe:

Chicken & Dumplings

Note: This dish is much brothier when it's first made, more like a soup. The picture above was taken after the leftovers had been in the fridge for a couple of days, soaking up all the stock. Still delicious.

For the stock:
1 whole chicken
2 carrots
2 stalks celery
1 onion
2 bay leaves
1 fresh thyme sprig
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon salt
  • Roughly chop the vegetables & put them in the bottom of a large stockpot or pressure cooker. Place the whole chicken on top, breast up. Add bay, thyme, garlic, pepper, and salt. Fill with water to cover the chicken. I used a pressure cooker and was able to add about 16 cups of water.
  • Bring to a boil, then simmer until the chicken is fall-off-the-bone tender, about an hour (30 minutes in a pressure cooker once the pot comes up to pressure).
  • Remove the pan from heat (release steam if using a pressure cooker). Remove the chicken from the pot & let cool. Strain and reserve the stock. Taste for seasoning. Add more salt & pepper if needed.
  • Pick all the meat off of the chicken & set aside.
For the dumplings:
1 3/4 cups self-rising flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly-ground black pepper
  • Bring your stock to a boil in large stockpot over medium-high heat.
  • Meanwhile, mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. The mixture will be a bit shaggy.
  • Drop the dough by tablespoons into the pot where the stock is boiling. The dumplings will expand almost immediately. Once you've used all the dough, cover the pot and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Uncover the pot and gently add the chicken by moving dumplings to the side and sliding some chicken underneath. You don't want to break up the dumplings too much.
  • Eat and feel better about the world. At least for a little while.

No comments: