Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Chicken Stew with Amazing Dumplings


Today, the day (its now a week)  after my Mom's Memorial service, I am trying to start getting back to my normal life. There a only a few things I would have changed during the last few months. First  I would love to still have my Mom, but not with her 0sick and in pain. Second I had to miss a few days with my Mom due to severe migraines. Otherwise we spent as much time as possible just being there with Mom. She wanted her friends and family close. It is now time to restart our lives and catch up on the little things we do every day. I know my house sure needs a good cleaning. I think of my Mom every day mostly of happy things. I hope she was happy with how we presented her final celebration. Love you Mom where ever you are.



This is a super comforting dish. It is one of my husband’s favourite meals. I like to make it for him for valentines day every year and sometimes when I know he is having a bad day. He normally eats very small portions, but when I make this dish he goes for seconds and thirds. When I make it for valentines day, I cut the carrots into little hearts. I found the idea for that on Pinterest and it links back to the following blog: http://www.recipebyphoto.com/heart-shaped-carrots-tutorial/. It is a simple way to show your love. I do not know about your man but mine doesn't want me to buy him things. He is much more impressed with a meal he likes and carrot hearts.

MMM a pot full of light and fluffy dumplings and a comforting chicken stew


 I have been trying to convert the dumplings to gluten free, but so far my testing has not been successful. I take out a serving of stew for myself before adding the dumplings for now. I will share the original recipe that my husband loves so much until I can get it worked out for gluten free. Usually for the stew I do not measure so it took me a while to come up with the correct measurements. Stew for me is usually when you add a few vegetables, some chicken broth and a few vegetables. Bring to a light boil and turn the heat down and simmer until the vegetables are cooked. You can add whatever vegetables you prefer.

So for those of you who do not wing it I will try to document a light chicken stew. You have your choice, you can buy a whole chicken, chicken pieces,or chicken breasts or you can go really easy and buy a rotisserie chicken that is already cooked from the closest deli or grocery store. I generally pick up the already cooked chicken. It cuts out several steps and makes this a quick and easy meal. Something I learned from my daughter who works at a grocery store is that you can buy half of a rotisserie chicken which is perfect for a small stew. 

If you want to cook your own chicken, cut your chicken into bite size pieces. Cut the chicken or the pieces in to smaller pieces. Add the chicken to a soup pot and brown it a little on the outside. Add some salt and pepper and cook until lightly browned. Add the chicken broth and the herbs and spices as follows: Add 2 bay leaves, a few sprigs of thyme, a few whole peppercorns, a couple of cloves of garlic and 1 tsp of salt. Cover the pot and bring the broth to a boil over medium high heat. When it boils turn it down and simmer for about an hour or until the chicken is tender. When it is done strain the broth keeping both the chicken and the stock. 

I only had chicken breast the day I made this batch of stew, it worked great too

It is probably a good thing to use chicken breat to conpensate for the whipping cream in the dumplings.


Or you can use an already cooked rotisserie chicken, and skip the instructions above.

The next step is to remove the chicken from the bones and skin. You only want the chicken and the broth for in your stew. If you have not done this before, you need to peel off the skin and then pull the cooked chicken from the bones watching for small bones. It is easiest to set aside any larger pieces and cutting them with a knife into smaller pieces.
Set aside the chicken and the broth to add back later to the stew pot. If you chose to use the already cooked chicken and tetra pack of broth you will not require the bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns and salt as this has already been done when the stock was made.
Ingredients: Chicken
·         One small to medium whole chicken or chicken pieces, uncooked
·         Water to cover
·         2 cloves of garlic
·         2 bay leaves
·         A few sprigs of fresh thyme
·         One tsp of salt or to taste
Or the other option
·         One medium size rotisserie chicken, already cooked
·         Two tetra packs of chicken broth I like to use kitchen basics (its gluten free)
Stew Ingredients
·         3 or 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
·         3 stalks of celery, chopped
·         3 medium size potatoes, peeled and cubed
·         1 medium white onion, chopped
·         2 cloves of crushed garlic
·         Your choice of any other fresh vegetables (parsnips, turnip, corn, mushrooms, peppers,  sweet potato or yam, or anything else you want)
·         1 cup of frozen peas
·         Salt and pepper to taste
·         Two bay leaves (remove before adding the dumplings to the stew)
·         1 tbsp. of olive oil
·         A 1/3 cup flour slurry (flour mixed with cold water and shaken)
·         ¼ cup of chives, minced for garnish
·         Freshly ground pepper for garnish

Return your soup pot to the stove. Add the olive oil to the pot. Saute the carrots, celery, onion, garlic and any other vegetables you are adding (except for the peas) about 5 minutes or until they are fork tender.



Be careful to not burn the garlic as it becomes very bitter if you do.  Add the chicken broth and the chopped/shredded chicken, and bay leaves, to the soup pot. Bring the pot to a light boil, and simmer for about 15 – 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.

You can use dried or bottled garlic but I really always prefer fresh


If I do not have time to make my own broth as described I usually use the Kitchen Basics broth as it is gluten free and has very few additives.


Add the frozen peas. Bring the stew to a full boil. If you are gluten free like I am remove your stew now and eat soup or use potato starch in place of the flour to thicken your stew. Slowly stir in the flour slurry until the stew is thickened the way you like it. You must stir constantly while you pour in the slurry or else you will get lumps.  Make sure you have lots of gravy on the stew as the dumplings will absorb broth when they cook. Add more broth or flour slurry as needed. If you must add a little water if the stew gets too thick.



The Amazing Dumplings
I have been making dumplings for years, but this is the best recipe I have ever tried.
·         2 cups all-purpose flour
·         1 tbsp. baking powder
·         1 tsp salt
·         2 eggs, lightly beaten
·         1 jalapeno chili, finely minced
·         ½ tsp granulated garlic
·         1 cup whipping cream (it’s worth the extra calories)
·         ¼ cup finely chopped chives

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the jalapeno, granulated garlic and minced chives. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix lightly until all of the ingredients are mixed. Do Not Over mix! If you do it will make the dumplings tough. The dough should be fairly thick.



Drop generous tablespoons full of dumpling mixture onto the top of the boiling stew. Go around the pot and add a couple of dollops to the centre of the stew. Put the lid on the pot and turn it down to medium low. On my electric range I set the temperature to three. You want the dumplings to cook but you do not want the bottom of the stew to burn. Set a timer for 15 minutes. Do not open the pot lid while the dumplings are cooking, otherwise they may become less fluffy and more like bricks.



Not much is required with this meal as it is fairly well balanced all on its own. Serve a dumpling in each bowl and scoop stew over. Garnish with minced chives and ground pepper. This is one of the few gluten products that I miss eating. It takes lots of willpower to say no to these.


These dumplings are the most tender and fluffy I have ever tried.
























I hope you enjoy this recipe, as I said earlier it is my husbands all time favorite. I will continue to work on a gluten free version and will be sure to post it as soon as I can.

Bon Appetite Cherie







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