Light as air they are - absolutely light as air. I'm speaking about the dumplings people and thanks to Elise from Simply Recipes, I finally know the secret. Having made plenty that would easily have replaced those 5 pound weights in my exercise repertoire, these were float in the air fabulous.
Other than using a fork to mix the wet into the dry ingredients, the real secret is using cake flour instead of all-purpose. Oh that and not peeking in the pot until they've simmered in the stew for a full 15 minutes - but I already knew about that one.
As for the stew - well I had a little under a pound of skinless boneless chicken breasts to use along with a veggie drawer full of odds and sods, so I thought why not make a soup. Sure it would have been nice to have a whole chicken to use, but sometimes you've just got to go with what you've got. Of course I could have added some leftover turkey to the mix but I'm saving that freezer stash for another day.
The soup morphed into a stew and we're so glad it did. Chock full of pearl onions, carrots, celery, and parsnip I even threw in some turkey gravy I had hiding just to add a little more flavor, along with garlic, rosemary, a touch of dried thyme and some poultry seasoning. I admit it all tasted rather wonderful for a dish that was ready in a grand total of 45 minutes.
Sometimes it's easier to make dinner than it is to make reservations. Oh alright, that's a bit of a stretch- so shoot me but wait until after lunchtime OK. We still have a couple of bowls left!
Chicken and Vegetable Stew with Dumplings Inspired by and adapted from simplyrecipes.com
1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and coarse ground black pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1-1/2 cups diced carrots (1/2 inch dice)
3 stalks celery, cut in half inch pieces
3 medium parsnip, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
6 ounces pearl onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
4 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup medium dry sherry
3 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 cup turkey gravy (or add additional cup of stock)
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
Melt butter and olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Cut chicken breasts into 1 inch cubes, season well with salt and pepper and dust lightly with flour, shaking off excess. Brown in Dutch oven until golden, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove browned chicken from pot to a plate and set aside. Decrease heat to medium and add onion, carrots, celery, parsnip, and pearl onions. Cook stirring occasionally for 5 minutes until vegetables start to caramelize. Add garlic, rosemary, thyme and poultry seasoning along flour. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat vegetables with mixture and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add to pot and when sherry has reduced, add chicken stock and turkey gravy. Heat to boiling stirring constantly until sauce has thickened. Return chicken to pot, reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.
In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add parsley and toss together. Using a fork, make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add butter and milk. Incorporate dry ingredients into the wet and mix carefully just until combined (barely). Using a small scoop, transfer dumplings to slowly simmering stew allowing space in between dumplings because they’ll expand. Cover pot and cook for 15 minutes. DO NOT PEEK. Serve stew in bowls with dumplings on top. Garnish with parsley. Serves 4.