Friday, January 21, 2011

Curried Chicken and Dumplings

All of this winter weather has given me the most intense craving for chicken and dumplings. Soft doughy dumplings nestled in a warm, savory stew hit all the right notes for a cold day. But sometimes all that bland on bland crosses the line between comforting and coma-inducing. So I played around with my latest spice purchase and came up with this extra-warming version.

Like the folks at Simply Recipes, I grew up on Bisquick dumplings. But dumplings are actually super easy to make from scratch. Just mix a few ingredients in a bowl and plop them onto whatever you're cooking, then cover and steam. These dumplings, adapted from The Noshery, include cornmeal in the base, which gives them a stodgy, homey quality that is extra-filling. My husband likened this dish to Indian matzo ball soup, which I think encapsulates its slightly exotic but restorative character quite nicely.

Curried Chicken and Dumplings (inspired by The Noshery)

FOR THE STEW
4-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (or a whole chicken, deboned)
1 onion, diced
1 small fennel bulb, diced
3 or 4 stalks of celery, cut into chunks
2 or 3 carrots, cut into chunks
1 daikon or 2 purple turnips, peeled and cut into chunks
1 small Yukon gold potato, cut into tiny dice (optional)
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 or 2 tablespoons of Penzeys hot curry powder (or other curry powder)
½ tablespoon of cayenne pepper (optional)
1 box of low-sodium chicken broth (4 cups)
Olive oil
Flour for dusting
Salt and pepper to taste

FOR THE DUMPLINGS
1½ cups of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup coarsely ground corn meal
Pinch of salt
1¾ cup whole fat milk

1. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Heat olive oil in a stew pot or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid and sprinkle a little flour, salt, and freshly ground pepper over the chicken pieces. Cook the chicken until it has a little color on all sides.

2. Add diced onion and fennel to the pot, along with the dried tarragon and cook for a few minutes, or until vegetables have softened.

3. Add celery, carrots, daikon/turnip, and potato (if using), cover with chicken broth. Stir ingredients together, season with curry powder and cayenne. Cover the pot, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let the stew simmer for 20-30 minutes. The potato should break down and thicken the stew slightly, you could alternately stir in a little flour mixed with cold water.

4. While stew is simmering, combine the dumpling ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until combined (do not overmix).

5. Taste the stew and adjust seasoning as necessary. Then drop heaping tablespoons of the dumpling mixture into the pot. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes more. You can cook the dumplings all at once and reheat them along with the stew the next day, or you can easily halve the dumpling recipe.

1 comment:

  1. That soup is definitely the perfect winter meal - looks great!

    ReplyDelete