You might be thinking, “isn’t June a bit too warm to be making stew-ish things like chicken and dumplings?” You might also be thinking, “didn’t you, in fact, JUST complain about how blazingly hot it was?” And… yes. I did. And it was. But then, just as suddenly as the heat came, it disappeared – today’s high was only in the 50s (Canadians: 50F = 10C), and this past weekend, when I made this, it was only a smidge warmer and it rained the whole time. So no, I do not feel bad about making stew. Oh New England, your weather is on crack 100% of the time.
I’ve had this recipe kicking around in my “soups/stews” file for ages. It’s from Radishes and Rhubarb, neither of which are foods I like, but never mind, because this decidedly is. The best thing about this recipe is that the gravy, or the liquid of the stew, whatever, tastes JUST LIKE chicken pot pie filling! When I tasted it to see if it was ready, I actually said “this is perfect!” out loud, and I try not to be all ego in the kitchen. I don’t think Matt heard me, anyway, so I’m safe! Until he reads this. If he reads this. Which maybe he won’t. Hi, sweetie.
I halved the recipe, and I also had to make a substitution because I didn’t have any dried sage on hand, which surprised me. Could’ve sworn… but anyway. I used tarragon instead. I like tarragon. And I skipped the canned tomato. I just wasn’t feeling tomato in this stew – too wet, if that makes any sense? – and also what with halving it there would have been barely any anyway. Also, I didn’t have any cooked chicken hanging around, so I cooked the chicken at the beginning with the vegetables, which was nice because it meant it could get a little colour.
Chicken and Dumplings
for the stew
2 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1 chicken breast, cut into bite-sized chunks
1/2 a large onion, diced (or I suppose you could just as well use a small onion; I just happened to have half a big one waiting around to be used up)
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 small-to-medium potato, cut into bite-sized chunks (I had a little red potato so I left the skin on)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp tarragon
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1/6 cup flour (I know, but just eyeball it in a 1/3 cup measure)
1/2 cup water
for the dumplings
heaping 1/2 cup flour (or if you want to be picky about it, 1/2 cup + 1/6 cup)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
for the stew
Heat the olive oil in a big pot over medium heat.
Add the chicken, onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and potato, and saute for 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked on all sides. It’s ok if it’s not cooked all the way through yet, though.
Pour in the stock (I added a few ice cubes of veggie stock as well, because I had it).
Stir in the salt, pepper, thyme, tarragon, and bay leaf.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer.
Cover and leave it alone for 20 minutes.
Stir together the water and flour to make a thick slurry (there’s an attractive word for something you’re going to eat!).
Mix the slurry into the stew and give it a stir; it’ll thicken up soon but probably not immediately.
Stir in the peas.
Now it’s time to make dumplings!
for the dumplings
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and thyme in a bowl.
Stir in the milk and oil.
Scoop heaping spoonfuls of batter onto the top of the bubbling stew.
Cover the pot and simmer for another 10 minutes without lifting the lid.
Check on the dumpling situation – they’re done when they look kind of dry on top and pass the toothpick test.
And now, back to watching the Canucks try to win the Stanley Cup tonight – it’s not looking great, but there are 2 periods left to go and we can still pull it out! And anyway there’s still the possibility of a Game 7 on Wednesday! Come on, guys!