REST FOR THE WICKED: Chicken Dumplings
Food for the Young, Single, and Hungry
Recipe: Chicken Dumplings
We’ve been told there is no rest for the wicked. I’m saying there is.
But like all good things, it has to be earned – or in the context of this piece, cooked. Because no matter how busy or wickedly ambitious you are, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice something as fundamental as enjoying and preparing your own food. It can be done. You don’t need to have a culinary degree, a great deal of money, or even 3 hours of your day to be pottering about in the kitchen. You just need a wee bit of focus, imagination, and most importantly, commitment. Life is too short to be wasted on lousy food. Eat well, my friend.
No other meat dispenses comfort as much as the trusty, ever-reliable chicken. When you come home from work well and properly knackered, it’s not a t-bone steak you long for – you long for a bucket of hot fried chicken. When your soul is down and troubled, you don’t ask for beef bourguignon – you ask for chicken soup. And chicken soup this is: the richer and more velvety kind, almost like a stew. The kind that heals all ails and makes the world a better place. I can’t write about this and not sound dreamy and googly-eyed, because this is more than just a complete meal to me: this is world peace in a bowl.
FOR THE CHICKEN STEW/SOUP YOU’LL NEED:
3 tbsps of butter or olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and diced into sizeable chunks (or use those cute little baby carrots. That’ll save a lot of time. You don’t even need to peel those)
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 tsp. dried thyme (double the amount if using fresh)
4 cups of chicken stock (or water + a stock cube. Add more liquid if you want it soupier. Add less if you like it stewier. Just take note that you need enough liquid to cook the dumplings)
2 tbsps. all purpose flour
1 kilo of chicken thigh fillets (or bone in thighs and legs. This is not the time to try and be healthful by using chicken breast.)
2 cups of frozen peas
salt and freshly milled pepper
FOR THE DUMPLINGS YOU’LL NEED:
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 and a half tsps. baking powder
2 tbsps. chopped parsley
1 tbsp. chopped dill
1/2 + 2 tbsps. of milk
salt and freshly milled pepper
HOW TO PREPARE:
1.) Make the stew. In a nice big pot over medium heat, sauté the garlic, onion in the butter until the onion has become slightly translucent. Bung in the celery and carrots, season with salt and pepper, stir the lot around a bit, then put the lid on and allow it to sweat for a minute to a minute and a half. Add the flour and stir around for 30 seconds. Then add the chicken stock and dried thyme and bring to a simmer. Once the stock is simmering, lay the chicken pieces and cook over gentle heat for 15-20 minutes.
2.) Make the dumplings. Combine all the ingredients and whisk till you get a lovely goo that’s slightly thicker than pancake batter. If the batter’s too stiff, add a few more tablespoons of milk. You should be able to slide the batter off a spoon.
3.) Now bring it all together. Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the simmering chicken stew, keeping them spaced well apart. These babies will swell and blossom as they cook, so you want to give them enough leg room. Add the peas. Put the lid on and simmer for 10 to 15 more minutes to cook the dumplings. Serve with a few more cracks of black pepper and a scattering of parsley and dill.
Don’t want to bother with the dumplings? That’s alright. Just make the stew and serve it with crusty bed – or better yet, in a bread bowl.