Chicken and Cornbread Dumplings

WordPress so nicely sent me a note that I’ve been blogging for six years as of this month. At first, I was like, “Oh yeah, of course.” And then a few seconds went by and it was like, “Holy crap!” Time flies. I am equal parts surprised and not surprised that I’m still doing this. I’ll never forget my first year. My grandma was so proud that I was writing and cooking that she printed every single page of the blog that year, put it in a three-ring binder, and gave it to me for Christmas. It sits on my bookshelf, more as a memory of her than anything, but it makes me laugh. That seems like such a grandma thing to do, and I still think about her nearly every time I write.

This winter is clearly a “things in bowls series.”

This recipe made me so happy. So much comfort in one little bowl. Cornbread is a weakness. Dumplings are a weakness. When their powers combine, I am weak.

Using buttermilk in the dumplings makes all kinds of sense because it’s cornbread, but it ended up being deliciously sour. I probably undercooked them by a minute, but by the time I was slurping my second bowl, all dumplings were cooked through. The brothy, chicken-y, vegetable mixture is the makings of a stellar pot pie but better. After I roasted the chicken thighs, I threw the bones into the mixture while it all cooked down. Can you have too much chicken flavor? Doubtful. I added some diced parsnip to the mixture because I wanted something starchy like a potato, but not actually a potato. The result sweetened the mixture, but not in a bad way. A parsnip is related to a carrot [I learn new things every day], so that sweetness makes some sense.

The dumpling batter reminded me of my days of spooning raw waffle batter into my mouth. I am was that kind of kid.

Inspiration: A Cozy Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 2 small carrots, diced
  • 1 parsnip, diced
  • 3 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup shaken buttermilk

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil [because your Silpat finally bit the dust]. Place the chicken in the middle of the pan and drizzle it with olive oil and generously cover it with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken in the oven for 20-25 minutes. The tops will be golden brown and the juices will run clear. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to cool so you can shred it. Set aside the bones.

In a Dutch oven or a medium sized pot, add the butter on medium heat. Once it is melted, add the celery, carrot, and thyme. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the vegetables are starting to soften. Add the flour and stir to coat. Cook for a minute before pouring in the chicken stock and the chicken bones. Bring the mixture to a simmer and then turn it down to medium-low. Cook for 6-7 minutes. The mixture should thicken a little.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Pour in the buttermilk and whisk until combined. Set aside.

Add a pinch or two of salt to the soup mixture after tasting. Add a ton [like 10 turns] of fresh cracked pepper. Bring the soup back up to a simmer and drop tablespoons of dumpling down into the boiling point. Repeat until all of the dough is gone. Cover the mixture and cook for 5-7 minutes. They should be fluffy and cooked through. I found stabbing one of them with a knife helped since I hadn’t cooked dumplings before. Move one of the dumplings aside and slip the shredded chicken into the pot. Let the chicken reheat before serving.

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