Wow, what a treat. My hubbie and I actually managed to get a weekday off together. This doesn't often happen in our house, so it was a day to celebrate. I offered up all kinds of tasty things to cook for lunch, but his taste buds were calling for some spicy wings. So, off to our favourite wings and beer place we went, for lunch, just the two of us, in the middle of the day. Wow! Now, you are probably thinking that this post is in no way related to the title that I picked, but, trust me, I am getting there! We arrived at Sammy's Rec Room, and ordered the wings, butter Cajun for the hubbie, and Bundy for me (a mix of hot and honey garlic that is sweet, hot, and delicious!) plus two pints to go with. Our favourite waiter Goo (see, part of the title makes sense now…)was working, and somehow we got to talking about food, go figure! One of his staff had a craving for dumplings, and he had made some up for her, just like that. The conversation continued, about the poaching liquid, the dumplings, and what everyone was doing with them, (some where even being baked if I recall) Anyway, he brought out a few samples for us, some rolled in the butter Cajun chicken wing sauce, and some sprinkled with cheese. Goo makes a mean dumpling, who knew? Tasty tasty! (I still think they should go on the menu, dumpling appetizers..A whole new concept!) The conversation then turned to the bread pudding , that he was making right then, which unfortunately was still in the oven when we left, so we didn't get to try it. But this lunch time conversation left me with 2 cravings that need to be attended to, ASAP! Hence the title of this blog, get it now?! I knew the bread pudding would have to wait when I found this recipe for chicken and dumplings on the Smitten Kitchen website. To the grocery store for leeks and chicken thighs I went. Thanks Goo! Your dumplings were an awesome segue to an amazing meal, and this blog!
This recipe takes a wee bit of time to cook, so be sure to leave enough time to let the chicken simmer, I step I somehow missed when I previewed the recipe, which left a very hungry teenager lurking in my kitchen for the last half hour of the cooking time, trying to eat everything that wasn't nailed down.
I barely changed the recipe, which is odd for me, like REALLY odd, but it sounded pretty much perfect the way it was. My only changes were due to what I had in my kitchen, hers had sherry, I used white wine, and I used thyme instead of tarragon. Other than that, the recipe was amazing, as is.
Smitten Kitchens Chicken and Dumplings with Leeks and Tarragon
Stew (make this part first, do not start the dumplings until this part is complete!)
5 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (I bought 2 packages with 9 thighs in each)
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 teaspoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
2 medium leeks , white and light green parts only, cut in half lengthwise, rinsed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large onion, minced
6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white wine
4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 cup frozen green peas
2 tsp dried thyme
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons reserved chicken fat (or unsalted butter)
For the stew: Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of the chicken and cook until golden on both sides, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the browned chicken to a bowl and remove the browned skin. (Use tongs, it is HOT!) Pour off the chicken fat and reserve. Repeat with remaining chicken, remembering to save any excess chicken fat, you will need it for the dumplings.
Add the butter to the Dutch oven and melt over medium-high heat.
Add the leeks, onion, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the flour. Whisk in the wine, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in the broth, milk, thyme, and bay leaves. Nestle the chicken, with any accumulated juices, into the pot.
Cover and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked and tender, about 1 hour. (mine was done in about 45-50 minutes)
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board.
Remove and discard the bay leaves. Let the sauce hang out for a few minutes, then skim the fat from the surface using a wide spoon.
After the chicken cools a bit, shred the meat from the bones, and return it to the stew. Discard the bones. Leave on burner to simmer.
Dumplings: Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
Microwave the milk and fat in a microwave-safe bowl on high until just warm; in my microwave it took about 40 seconds. (do not over-heat).
Stir the warmed milk mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just incorporated and smooth. Over-mixing will make your dumplings tough.
Stir in the peas and tarragon into the simmering stew, and season with salt and pepper.
Gather a golf-ball-sized portion of the dumpling batter onto a soup spoon, then push the dumpling onto the stew using a second spoon.
Cover the stew with the dumplings, leaving about 1/4 inch between each. You should have about 18-20 dumplings. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and cook until the dumplings have doubled in size.
SK suggested 15-18 minutes, mine took more like 25, much to the dismay of the hungry teenager!