When I was growing up, one of the traditions in my family was that on your birthday you got to choose the meal that was cooked for you. Invariably, I always chose my favorite meal, chicken and dumplings! The twist to chicken and dumplings that my family always made was that the recipe was straight out of a microwave only cookbook. That’s right, the chicken, dumplings, and even the sauce were all completely cooked with radiation. I had my humble cooking beginnings learning how to cook chicken and dumplings using ONLY a microwave. One of my sister’s favorite stories to tell about me is how I managed to turn several frozen chicken breasts into charcoal briquettes in the microwave for this very dish.
While I still have the microwave version of this recipe and it was tempting to use for nostalgia’s sake, we decided that it would be fun to make this dish from scratch…from the roasted chicken, to the chicken stock, and dough for the dumplings. I can understand why a microwave only version of this recipe was developed! This is one of those cooking experiences that can take up a good part of the day but the result is well worth the effort! The roasted chicken is so tender and flavorful, the dumplings soft and fluffy, and the sauce savory and soul warming.
If you are looking for a warm meal this winter to get you through the cold nights give this one a try!
Both Nathan and I’s drink pairings fell, shall we say, a bit short. While my wine pairing was not as abysmally bad as Nathan’s beer pairing, it was still not quite up to our usual standards. This wine tasted more like a Pinot Grigio than a Chardonnay and lacked the richness and smoothness that would have complemented the chicken and dumplings. It was a bit flat in terms of flavor and was just too crisp and acidic. Better luck next week!
I’ll start this review by stating that a lot of beer drinkers out there apparently disagree with me and that I have liked a lot of other beers I’ve tried from Stillwater. However, I’m not sure what to say about this beer… it was one of the first beers in a long time that I decided I didn’t even want to finish and poured down the drain. Ultimately, I think it comes down to the yeast “Bretanomyces” that was apparently used in this beer. The beer started off with a super light flavor with almost no malt flavors and hints of citrus and floral notes. However, as you swallow you are hit with spicy, peppery, and bitter flavors that made me grimace. Unfortunately, after taking a bite of the chicken and dumplings those funky flavors were only intensified and I couldn’t take another sip. Maybe my palate just isn’t sophisticated enough to appreciate this beer but I’m glad that I only bought one bottle of it.
Chicken and Dumplings
For the Chicken
1 (3-pound) whole chicken
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1 lemon, halved and juiced; halves reserved
1/4-cup fresh chopped parsley
1 onion, halved
4 garlic cloves, smashed
4 parsley sprigs
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the neck and giblets from the cavity of the chicken and discard. Rinse the chicken under cold water, inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels. Season the body and cavity of the chicken generously with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, mash together the butter, lemon juice, and chopped herbs. Rub the herbed butter all over the chicken, as well as under the skin (I made Nathan do this part…hehe.)
Put the lemon halves, onion, garlic, and parsley inside the chicken cavity, for added flavor. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Place the chicken, breast side up, in a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Roast for 1 hour until the meat is no longer pink. When cool enough to handle, shred the meat, discarding the skin and set aside. Reserve the bones for chicken stock.
For the Chicken Stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 carrots, cut in large chunks
2 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
1 onion, halved
1 garlic bulb, halved
Reserved chicken bones
2 quarts cold water
4 sprigs fresh parsley
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
To prepare the stock, coat a large stock pot with olive oil and place over medium heat. Add the vegetables and saute for 3 minutes. Add the reserved chicken bones, water, and herbs; simmer for 1 hour. Strain the stock to remove the solids and set aside.
For the Dumplings
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup chopped parsley
To prepare the dumplings: sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs, milk and parsley together; pour the liquid in the dry ingredients and gently fold. Mix just until the dough comes together, the batter should be thick and cake-like.
For the Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup flour
6 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, for garnish
Chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
In a Dutch oven, melt butter and heat oil over medium heat. Add carrot,celery, garlic, and bay leaves. Saute until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour to make a roux. Continue to stir and cook for 2 minutes to coat the flour and remove the starchy taste. Slowly pour in the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition.
Let sauce simmer until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Stir in heavy cream and salt.
Fold the reserved shredded chicken into the sauce and bring up to a simmer. Using 2 spoons, carefully drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the dumpling batter into the hot mixture. The dumplings should cover the top of the sauce, but should not be touching or crowded. Let the dumplings poach for 10 to 15 minutes until they are firm and puffy. Season with freshly cracked black pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.