Cold. Rainy. Gray. That means it’s time for comfort food. There are a lot of dishes that qualify as comfort food – mac and cheese, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, chicken potpie. To me, what qualifies as comfort food is any dish that brings back great memories of family, friends and good food. Culture and tradition play a big role too.
I can remember when we lived with my Grandpa and Grandma Smith when I was a very little girl. My mom and grandma would be in the kitchen preparing dinner while we waited for my grandpa to get home from driving a city bus. My dad worked nights at the time, so we often didn’t see him for dinner unless it was his day off. One of the dishes I remember vividly was chicken and dumplings. The smell of chicken, onions, carrots and celery simmering on the stove and then the magic of the dough being spooned into the broth and fluffing up into light and airy dumplings. Oh boy, it was so good!
So join me in the kitchen while we make an old favorite. Trust me, you’ll be adding this dish to your fall and winter dinner line up! The Dude tells me this dish is one of my top ten. Who am I to argue with him?
Chicken and Dumplings
- 2 TBSP unsalted butter
- 1 TBSP vegetable oil
- 4-5 pounds cut up chicken (I use breasts and thighs – you want the skin on and the bones too – need that flavor!)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
- 1 large leek, white and pale green only, cleaned well and sliced thin
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 4 large carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 3-1/2 cups low salt chicken broth
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 1/2 tsp ground thyme
- 1 small bay leaf
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 TBSP baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup plus 3 TBSP half and half
Dredge chicken pieces in seasoned flour. In a large heavy dutch oven heat the butter and oil until the butter stops foaming. Brown the chicken pieces being sure not to crowd the chicken. Transfer to a plate. In the same dutch oven, saute the leeks and onions to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots, celery and thyme. Saute for 3-4 minutes. Add the chicken broth and the apple cider. Transfer the chicken back to the broth and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered for 30 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking sift together in a bowl the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. With a fork stir in the half and half until the dough is just blended.
With a large soup spoon scoop out 11-12 dumplings and arrange over chicken mixture. Simmer, covered for 9 minutes. Dumplings are done when a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.