Well, we didn’t make it past the Fancy Dinner party in the Foodbuzz competition so we took a little break (nothing like take out Chinese Food to soothe the soul of defeat). THANK YOU all so much for your support though this contest and hopefully you’ll all keep reading!
Now that we’re ready to get back on track, Charisse has taken off on a family vacation to Arkansas (pronounced Ark-en-saw – apparently it is offensive to call it Ark-Kansas or Ark an sauce =P) leaving Eric home alone for a week, so the next few posts will be me going solo. Since cooking for one is never fun, I’ve pulled out the old college cook book and will be showing everyone how the typical American Male survives when left alone for an extended period of time. You’ve been warned.
Charisse’s imminent departure meant we worked hard to spend as much time together and prepared a very home style dinner to celebrate our return to non-contest normalcy. It doesn’t get much more home style than chicken and dumplings, especially when a cold snap rolls in. Warm gooey dumplings and chicken were a great use of our newest cast iron pan, and the iron adds just that little extra to everything we cook in it. We actually heard a report that eating food cooked in cast iron is really good for women, because it adds iron to the food. Yet another reason we love our iron. The soup coming out of this is really thick and flavorful, so be prepared to have some bread on the table and a lack of judging when someone gets caught licking the bowl.
Chicken and Dumplings
What you will need:
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Salt and Pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 yellow onion
4 ounces small white mushrooms, halved and de-stemmed
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup flour
3 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup dry sherry
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 bay leaf
1/4 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves
3/4 cup frozen peas.
Set the oven to 425 and reset a rack to the middle of the oven.
First rinse and pat dry the chicken breasts then cut them into strips of about 1 inch. Divide them into batches (depending on how large your skillet is) then salt and pepper each batch. Heat your cast iron skillet with 1 tablespoon oil over medium high heat. Add the first batch of chicken and cook roughly 5 minutes (or until browned on both sides). Repeat this with all your batches (adding more oil between batches). Set the chicken aside and melt your butter over medium heat in the same pan. Toss in your onion, mushrooms and shallots for about 5 minutes, until the onions become soft. Stir in the the flour and slowly add chicken stock, cream and sherry. Whisk often until it comes to a boil, then reduce the heat and add in the carrots, celery, bay leaf, nutmeg, oregano and thyme. Season with the salt and pepper and let it simmer for another 5 minutes. Add the chicken back in along with the peas and cook for another 5 minutes.
What you will need:
1 1/4 cups flour
2/3 cup cornmeal
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons chilled butter
3 teaspoons choped fresh rosemary
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Cut the butter quickly into pea sized chunks and mix into the bowl. Gently add the rosemary (this is a good time to use your hands!) and add the milk. You want everything mixed together until it becomes wet and slightly sticky.
Using a large spoon, drop the dumplings into the chicken mixture a scoop at a time. This should make about 10 dumplings. Sprinkle with salt and return the skillet to the oven. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the dumplings are golden brown.