Thursday, January 29, 2009
Chickeny Comfort in a Bowl
A few factors contributed to this dish: a glut of boneless chicken thighs in the freezer, a couple weeks in a row of colder-than-usual weather, and fewer veggies in the fridge than I like to admit. We have a great local butcher from whom we get freezer orders a few times a year. It's a great place - you can see the cows, pigs and lambs walking around in the field, umm, until you can see them being butchered behind the big windows!!
We often buy a case of boneless chicken breasts, which consists of 40 boneless chicken breast halves, frozen 2 to a package - perfect for a 2 person household. We probably blow through those 20 dinners in 2-3 months - we love chicken.
For a change, we decided to get a case of 40 boneless skinless chicken thighs last time. I requested they be wrapped 4 in a package, as they're so much smaller than breasts. So, we should have had 10 packages, right?
Dan went to pick up this freezer order (I was babysitting my precious niece, Hayden. Not much else could keep me away from my butcher!). He thought it seemed like a lot of chicken, but it all fit in the freezer, so why not?
Well, they did not give us 40 chicken thighs - they gave us 40 POUNDS of chicken thighs!!! So we have been eating lots of chicken thighs. Lots.
I used some shortcuts for this recipe, to suit what I had on hand, and in an effort to eat dinner before 10pm. The "real" recipes will tell you to start with a whole chicken, make stock, etc. I use Minor's Chicken Base often. (Please don't kick me out of the food blogging world). It just seems that every time I try to make chicken stock from scratch, it sucks. Believe me, I've researched this and tried everything, but I suck at stock. Can you tell I didn't go to culinary school? I would have failed out during Stock 101.
Chicken and Dumplings
8 cups chicken stock (canned, paper box, homemade, from base, whatever works for you)
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 bay leaf
EV olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 medium carrots, sliced thick
4 celery ribs, sliced thick
1 chopped scallion or fresh herbs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons butter
1 cup whole milk
Poach chicken thighs and bay leaf in some stock to cover. I used my pressure cooker for this and they were done in 10 minutes. Let cool and pull meat apart into bite-sized pieces. Saute mirepoix in oil until vegetables are translucent but not brown. Add chicken stock and simmer 10 minutes until vegetables are tender. Meanwhile, make dumpling batter: heat butter and milk in saucepan until hot. Add to dry ingredients and scallion/herbs, and mix until just combined. Form dough into balls or roll out and cut into noodle-like shapes and set aside.
When vegetables are tender, add chicken to pot and bring to a simmer. Not boiling, but it needs to be simmering for the dumplings to cook correctly. Place dumplings on top of simmering stew, cover pot and cook for 15 minutes.
This was surprisingly good leftover. I wish we had more!