|College Inn Chicken Broth|
How do you define comfort food? I would like to know.
For me, three things immediately come to mind... Macaroni and Cheese, Mashed Potatoes, and Chicken Stew with Dumplings.
Yesterday the Northeast got hit with one of the worst blizzards in 14 years. Our fate was nothing worse than little cabin fever by the end of the day.
After fighting the crowds at the grocery store earlier that morning I came back with the contents to this wonderful creation.
This recipe was adapted from a little cookbook called Cheap Eats, that I received about as long ago as the last big snow storm. The author and I share a similar philosophy, nourishing, hearty family meals for about $10. The recipes in the book are even classified by season. This one falls in winter, exactly where it belongs. I'm the only person I know who actually looks forward to the colder months. You just can't enjoy the warmth and the comforting smells your oven or Dutch Oven emits in the middle of summer.
Chicken Stew with Dumplings
1.25 lbs boneless chicken thighs fat removed and cut into stew like pieces
1 medium onion chopped
2 cups carrots
1 cup celery
5 cups College Inn chicken broth
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
2 small bay leaves
Dash of black pepper
Scallion Cornmeal Dumplings (Recipe follows)
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil on medium heat in a 5 quart Dutch Oven, sautee onion, carrots and celery until onion is translucent to release aromatics. Remove to plate.
Add additonal olive oil if needed and sautee chicken pieces until lightly golden on outside. Add vegetables back to pot and add broth, marjoram, thyme and bay leaves. NOTE: I used the not low sodium chicken broth for this and the recipe did not need any additional salting.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile stir together dumplings:
1 cup plus 2 tbsps all-purpose flour
2 tbsps cornmeal, preferably yellow
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsps minced scallions, including green tops
3 tbsps chilled solid vegetable shortening or butter (I used shortening)
1/2 cup milk
In a medium bowl, mix the first 5 ingredients. Cut the shortening or butter in with a pastry cutter or rub it into the mixture by rubbing your hands together until it resembles coarse meal. Add milk and stir until a soft dough forms.
Drop the dumplings by rounded tablespoonfuls into the hot liquid around the pot. To give each little guy room to expand. You will get about 12 dumplings. Cover with lid and don't peek for 20 minutes. You are actually poaching biscuits.
The beauty of these dumplings is that they help thicken the stew. Ladle into wide shallow bowls and be comforted.
|Chicken Stew with Scallion Cornmeal Dumplings|