Chicken and Dumplings

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The computer added that exclamation mark. Really. It’s very intuitive.

Did today need a pot of chicken and dumplings simmering on the stove? Mine did. It was all I could do to keep myself from devouring the lot, standing at the stove, and the only deterrent was the risk of incinerating my tongue. It may have been worth it.

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I tried to take pictures. I mean I did, but I could barely focus. The steam was making me ravenous, like that cartoon steam that winds out of delicious things and swirls up your nose. I snapped a few, grabbed a fork and took the bowl to the couch for some alone time. Then I came back for a rendezvous with the pot.

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This feels like the sort of thing I should have grown up with, but it wasn’t. My childhood never knew a dumpling. These are the deal deal – sticky dough you drop by the spoonful onto the surface of the simmering stew, then cook by covering the pot and letting them steam, infusing themselves with the flavours of the stew, which is so much better than the sum of its parts. And so easy. For real.

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Chicken Stew with Dumplings

The ultimate one-pot comfort food.

canola oil, for cooking
6-8 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs
1 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock
1 carrot, finely chopped
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1/3 cup half & half or heavy cream

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream

Heat the oil in a wide, heavy pot over medium-high heat and brown the chicken on all sides. Transfer to a plate. Add the butter, onions and thyme to the pan and cook until soft. Add the flour and stir to coat the onions. Add the stock, return the chicken to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Stir in the carrot, peas and cream.

Meanwhile, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the cream. Drop the dough by the spoonful onto the simmering stew, spacing them an inch or so apart. Cover and cook until the dumplings have doubled in size, about 15 minutes. Serves 4-6.

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March 04 2015 | chicken & turkey and stews & braises | No Comments »

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

peanut butter brownies 1 585x390 Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

These, for the weekend. Be careful not to overbake them – brownies are always best slightly underbaked. You can’t rely on the skewer test because you want lots of moist, fudgy crumbs.

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Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

Adapted from Betty Crocker.

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp. milk or cream
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup cocoa
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup peanut butter

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars until pale and light; beat in the eggs and milk. Don’t worry if the mixture looks like it’s separating. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir (or beat on low) until combined. Remove about a cup an put it into another bowl.

Stir the cocoa and chocolate chips into the original bowl, and the peanut butter into the batter you put in another bowl. Drop the chocolate batter in big dollops in a parchment-lined (or greased) 8×8-inch pan, and drop the peanut butter batter in spoonfuls in the spaces between. Drag the tip of a knife or a bamboo skewer through both, creating a swirled effect.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan, but the brownie is still soft in the middle. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Makes 16 brownies.

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February 28 2015 | cookies & squares | 4 Comments »

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