Snow days are magical.
|hot cocoa muffins!|
Little boys in footed pajamas shuffling around the house from window to window, exclaiming, "It snowed everywhere!
Unexpected gifts dropped (if you're lucky) smack dab in the middle of the week, forcing you to slow down, drop what you're doing, and just be together. (obviously I mean if you are fortunate enough to do so...I feel for the people who don't have the option of staying home and have to get out on the roads!)
Who wants to come in from building snowmen and igloos and sledding and sit down to a giant bowl of ............ salad? Or tilapia? Or parsnips? (sorry little guys!). Not quite. After a day like that, you need something hearty, rich and comforting.
I know. I know what you're thinking. I should rename this blog, "How to Rapidly Gain 50 lbs. Before the Winter is Over."
Sorry, what can I say? I'm on a comfort food kick. I even devoted a section in my recipe index solely to comfort foods.
*Ina (love her) calls this "chicken stew with biscuits." Which is, indeed, what it is. It just sounds so much better to my soul to call them, "Chicken n Dumplins." Heads up: This recipe takes a LONG time to make. Don't file it under "quick and easy meals." But. It is so worth it. The good news is that it is not all hands-on time. There are lots of steps that involve waiting, so it's easy to clean as you go, and is great for those lazy days at home when you have things to catch up on (or not) while you wait.
Chicken n' Dumplins
*My Go-To Method for Cooking Chicken: Ina's method here for roasting chicken changed my life. Ok, that is a little dramatic, but it changed the part of my life that concerns any recipe which calls for cooked chicken. I used to just boil it. Not anymore. Something about coating it in olive oil, the skin-on, bone-in, the generous seasoning and roasting....it makes THE most flavorful, moist chicken.
*The biscuits. Oh my, the biscuits. Every time I make this I have this internal dialogue that goes something like this:
Oh my gosh. These biscuits. WHY didn't I double the biscuits??
There are 2 1/2 sticks of butter total in this recipe as it is.
Oh yeah. That's why.
Sometimes, however, if there is a lot leftover for the next day and we run out of biscuits, I'll make another batch to go with the leftovers. Because it just isn't the same without them!
3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin on
3 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (mine wasn't)
2 chicken bouillon cubes (I used the Better than Bouillon Chicken Base intead...cause it is.)
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups medium-diced (carrots (4 carrots), blanched for 2 minutes (boil for 2 minutes, then plunge in bath of ice water)
1 10-ounce package frozen peas (2 cups)
1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions (pearl onions)
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
For the biscuits:
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
3/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes (In my oven it's usually 40), or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into large dice. You will hve 4 to 6 cups of cubed chicken.
In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the buillon cubes (or chicken base) in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the heavy cream. Add the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, onions and parsley. Mix well. Place the stew in a 10 x 13 x 2-inch oval or rectangular baking dish. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan lined with parchment or wax paper. Bake for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile make the biscuits:
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. (I'm weird. I like to cut in the butter by hand.) Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. Add half-and-half and combine on low speed. Mix in the parsley. Dump the dough out onto a well-floured board (or a clean, well-floured counter-top), and with rolling pin, roll out to 3/8-inch thick. (I patted mine, because I always read you are supposed to pat biscuits, not roll...I'm sure Ina would know, though..I'll investigate the matter.) Cut out twelve circles with a 2 1/2 inch-round cutter.
Remove the stew from the oven and arrange the biscuits on top of the filling. Brush them with egg wash, and return the dish to the oven. Bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the biscuits are brown and the stew is bubbly.
Note: To make in advance, refrigerate the chicken stew and biscuits separately. Bake the stew for 25 minutes, then place the biscuits on top, and bake for another 30 minutes, until done.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten's Chicken Stew with Biscuits