Chicken and Dumpling Stew

On a cold winter’s day when the wind’s tearing round the house, curling up in front of the fire with a bowl of stew has never been a better idea! This great Chicken and Dumpling Stew is a favourite crockpot recipe-simple, tasty and perfect for those cold nights!

 

Ingredients

5 cups of prepared chicken stock

1 whole chicken, in parts (2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 breasts)

3 celery stalks, trimmed and cut into pieces

6 boiling onions, peeled and halved

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, or chicken fat from the cooked chicken

1 teaspoon dried thyme

6 Tbsp all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp dry sherry or vermouth (optional)

1 Tbsp of heavy cream (optional)

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leavesGround black or white pepper

 

Dumplings

2 cups + 2 tablespoons cake flour (can sub all-purpose flour)

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt2 Tbsp butter, melted

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup minced fresh herb leaves such as parsley, chives, and tarragon (optional)

 

© Kathy Burns-millyard | Dreamstime.com

 

Procedure

- Poach the chicken in the stock.

- Add skinless chicken parts (legs, thighs, breasts), 2 bay leaves, and 3/4 teaspoon of salt to the stock and bring to a simmer.

- Reduce heat; continue to simmer, partially covered, until broth is flavorful and chicken parts are just cooked through, about 20 minutes.

- Remove chicken parts from the pan and set aside. When they are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones in 2-inch chunks or strips.

- Place a strainer over a large bowl and pour the broth through it, straining out the solids from the broth.

- Discard the solids.

- Skim and reserve the chicken fat from broth (a fat separator works great for this task) and set aside 5 cups of broth, reserving extra for another use.

- While chicken is cooking, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add (optional) chopped fresh herbs.

- Add melted butter and milk to the dry ingredients. Gently mix with a spoon until mixture just comes together. (Note: do not overmix! or your dumplings will turn out too dense.) Set aside.

- Heat reserved chicken fat (or butter) in the pan you had used to make the stock over medium-high heat.

- Whisk in flour and thyme; cook, whisking constantly, until flour turns golden, 1 to 2 minutes.

- Whisking constantly, gradually add sherry or vermouth, then slowly add the reserved 5 cups of chicken stock; simmer until mixture thickens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes.

- Stir in the vegetables, simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in chicken and optional cream; return to a strong simmer. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

- Drop dumpling batter into the simmering stew by heaping teaspoonfuls, over the surface of the stew.

- Cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

- Once you have covered the pan, do not uncover while the dumplings are cooking! In order for them to be light and fluffy, they must steam, not boil. Uncovering the pan releases the steam.

- If after 15 minutes they are still not cooked through (use a toothpick or skewer to test) cover pan again, and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes.

- Gently stir in peas and parsley. Ladle portions of meat, sauce, vegetables, and dumplings into soup plates and serve immediately.

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