The days are warming up, but on those still cool spring nights, a pot of stew with fluffy dumplings can be a wonderful dinner. This one uses a whole chicken, but if you would rather not deal with that you can substitute about 8-10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead. This stew can be made with or without the dumplings, and the leftovers are fabulous the next day or tucked into a thermos for lunch. I love to pair this up with a green tossed salad or some veggies and dip for the kids.
3 lb chicken (1.5 kg)-cut up (or 8-10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into bite sized pieces)
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
1/4 tsp marjoram
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tbsp flour
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp cold butter, cubed
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)
In a shallow Dutch oven, heat a bit of oil and saute the carrots, celery, onion and garlic until onion is soft. Add 1 1/2 cups water, broth, bay leaves, thyme, salt, pepper, and marjoram. Bring to a boil. Add the chicken and reduce the heat; cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes.
Add the potatoes; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Whisk flour with 1/3 cup cold water, and stir into the broth mixture.
At this point, I often like to fish out all the chicken pieces onto a plate and pick off all the yummy meaty bits, shredding them into more bite sized pieces, and then dumping them back into the stew. This keeps me from having to deal with the bones and stuff while I'm eating, and I prefer it that way. If you used boneless skinless chicken thighs, skip this step.
Meanwhile, make the dumplings. In medium bowl, whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in the buttermilk and parsley to make a sticky dough.
Drop by 8 spoonfuls onto the simmering stew and cook, covered and without lifting the pan, for 15 minutes or until the dumplings are no longer doughy and the chicken is no longer pink when pierced. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
Adapted from Canadian Living