Rachel Cooks

Chicken with Cornmeal Dumplings

I realize winter is almost over (praise the Lord!). This dish is a little bit on the wintry side, but it is really hearty, easy and delicious. It is from Everyday Food magazine (surprise, surprise!). I’m so sorry I have no pictures of it. It was getting dark and we were hungry and I was lazy. However, it turned out really well so I still want to share it! Update: Jess from Galley Sally blog was kind enough to let me borrow her picture and link to her blog–she also made this dish. Thanks! Check out her blog for more step-by-step pictures (and other yummy looking recipes).

Chicken with Cornmeal Dumplings
from Everyday Food

Chicken Stew
3 Tbsp unsalted butter (I only used one)
5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces (I used seven because I bought the family pack and my hubby likes things meaty)
salt and pepper
1/2 bunch scallions, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced medium
2 celery stalks, diced medium
2 medium carrots, diced medium (I used 4-5 carrots because mine were little)
1 teaspoon ground thyme (I’m sure you could use fresh–I had it on hand but decided to stick to the recipe for once)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2-12 ounce bottles pilsner or another light or medium bodied lager (I used Budweiser–and put in 2 bottles minus a sip or two!)
1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes (I used two 14ish ounce cans of diced tomatoes)
1 to 2 Tbsp red-wine vinegar

Cornmeal Dumpling Dough
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon course salt
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup buttermilk (I used reduced fat)

I recommend making the dough while you have the stew simmering. In a medium bowl, whisk together  flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Using your fingers (I used a pastry cutter) work in butter until small crumbs form. Stir in buttermilk.

1) In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid, melt 1 Tbsp butter over medium high. Season chicken with salt and pepper, add to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, about five minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons butter (I skipped this, there was plenty of oil in the pan still from the first tablespoon of butter as well as the fat rendered off of the chicken), scallions, bell pepper, celery and carrots to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until scallions and celery are soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in thyme and flour and season with salt and pepper; cook one minute. Return chicken to pot and whisk in beer. With your hands roughly tear tomatoes and add to pot along with juices (or if you have two cans of diced, dump them both in as is). Bring to a rapid simmer and cook, uncovered, 30 minutes (this is a good time to make your dough). Season to taste with vinegar (I, as always, forgot to measure, but I’d guess I put in about 1.5 Tbsp and I think that was a great amount).

2) Reduce heat to a medium simmer and drop dough by rounded tablespoons on top of stew. Cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes.

Verdict: This was really good. The kind of dish that makes you feel warm all over. I’m definitely making this one again. I had considered trying it with chicken breasts, which I’m sure would be good, but the thighs tasted great with the tomatoes and vegetables. If you don’t eat dark meat because you don’t like it or because you’re trying to save calories, I’m sure white meat would be fine. But this is a really healthy meal overall, and I think the dark meat is worth it.
Husband’s take: “I was skeptical at first, but this is really good.” He is always such a skeptic, but he likes what I cook about 90 percent of the time. He had seconds and leftovers so I know he wasn’t just saying it be nice. Sometimes he does that but the true test is seconds and leftovers.
Changes I would make: None. The torn whole tomatoes might be good–more rustic (and maybe a little less juicy?), but diced was easy and was what I had in the pantry.
Difficulty: Very easy–and in one pot! Doesn’t get better than that.

Click here for printable recipe.

   
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