Sunday, December 16, 2007

Winter is here again Oh lord,

It's that time of year yet again. Winter. Oh sure, the calender says winter is not until december 22nd. But it here now nonetheless. I can prove it... I have photo's!
See? I just have to face it... grilling season is really over. But on the bright side, now is the time that call's for hearty comfort food. While trying to come up with something great to cook to kickstart the winter season, i came across a recipe for Chicken and dumplings at It had a lot going for it. It's chicken and dumplings for heavens sake. What could be better on a cold winters day? Secondly, one of the main ingredients is leeks. I have never cooked with (or knowingly eaten) leeks before, and couldn't wait to try them. Every time I see them in the store they peak my interest. And as is turns out, leeks are yummylisious!
Due to the fact that I dont follow directions well, and due to neccessity, I did change the recipe a wee bit. The original recipe called for using Sherry, which I didn't have. So I used Chardonnay instead. I also added some celery and carrots because I wanted it a little more "Chicken Stew" like. And I used Buttermilk instead of regular whole milk for both the stew and the dumplings. Overall, it came out pretty good. And I'm not sure if there is any better hearty comfort foods that Chicken and Dumplings. Even if, it's not made in the traditional way. Chicken and Dumplings
Adapted from recipe at


· 4 Large chicken Leg Quarters
· Salt and Pepper
· 4 Teaspoons Olive Oil
· 4 Teaspoons Butter (1/2 stick)
· 2 Medium Leeks – White and light green parts only – Cut into 1” pieces
· 1 Large Vidalia onion – chopped
· 4 Stalks of Celery – sliced in half lengthwise, then sliced diagonally
· 2 Medium carrots – thinly sliced
· ¼ Teaspoon Salt
· 6 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
· 1 Cup Chardonnay
· 5 Cups Chicken broth
· 1 Cup Buttermilk
· 1 Teaspoon Thyme
· 2 Bay leaves
· ½ Cup Frozen Green Peas
· 1 ½ Tablespoons Tarragon

· 2 Cups All-Purpose flour
· 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
· 1 Teaspoon Salt
· 1 ½ Cup Buttermilk
· 1 ½ Tablespoons reserved chicken fat or butter


Pat chicken dry with paper towels
Season with salt and pepper
Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking.
Add 2 chicken leg quarters
Cook until skin on both sides is well browned. Approx. 10 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a plate and remove the browned skin.
Pour off the chicken fat and reserve.
Repeat with second 2 leg quarters.
Add the butter to the Dutch oven and melt over medium-high heat.
Add the leeks, onion, celery, carrots and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook until softened.
Whisk in the wine, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan.
Stir in chicken broth, buttermilk, thyme, and bay leaves.
Return chicken to pot along with any juices on plate.
Cover pot and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked. Approx. 1 hour.
Remove pot from heat.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board
Shred chicken meat from bones and discard bones.
Remove and discard bay leaves.
Skim fat from surface of stew with a large spoon.
Return chicken back into stew.
Bring stew back to a simmer.
Stir in peas and tarragon. Add salt and pepper to taste.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
Microwave buttermilk and chicken fat in a microwave-safe bowl on high until just warm (do not over-heat). Approx. 1 minute.
Stir the warmed milk mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until incorporated and smooth.
Using a soup spoon, drop large spoonfuls of dumpling mixture into stew, about ¼ inch apart.
Cover pot and reduce heat to low.
Simmer about 15 – 20 minutes until dumplings double in size and are cooked through.

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