Part One – Old Fashioned Good Guy,
Chicken and Dumplings is such a homey, delicious meal that I was happy to see it done recently on two Food Network shows. The first was on Tyler's Ultimate.
He starts with an organic, free-range chicken and slow simmers it until it’s falling apart. He’s going to make his dumplings with buttermilk. Sure sounds like home to me…
He places his 3½ pound chicken in a big pot. He always looks for one that has a yellowy color. He adds peppercorns, bay leaves, fresh thyme and a halved HEAD of garlic and a little salt. He pours over water, just to cover, and simmers it for an hour “low and slow”.
(That’s what should be on your stove if you’re trying to sell your house. It will smell fantastic! And The Apple Brown Betty coming up wouldn’t hurt either. )
I can’t help myself, I have to tell you about the dessert:
He slices the crusts off a day-old brioche. It will absorb more butter if it’s a little stale. He melts a stick of butter and slices the bread and then shreds it into similar-sized small pieces. (I guess it has THREE ingredients.) He likes the buttery eggy taste of the brioche in this dish. He pours over the hot melted butter and stirs it thoroughly.
He also adds a bit of salt…like everyone else on earth and stirs it all together.
He sprinkles sugar over, places the dish on a baking sheet and bakes it at 375°F for about an hour.
Back to chicken dish. To a Dutch oven,
He whisks in a quarter cup of flour to the sautéed vegetables, while telling us that adding hot stock to the mixture will make it easier to make a lump free base for the dish. He says heating up cold stock or boxed, (if that’s what you’re using) will make your life easier. He pours in the entire bowl of stock from the poached chicken. (The recipe says 6 cups.)
He stirs it well and adds a splash of cream, salt and lots of coarsely ground black pepper. He folds in all the chicken and adds peas and pearl onions. This is like Ina’s Chicken Pie. He cooks it for 15 minutes.
He adds wet ingredients and stir until he has a nice spongy mixture. He doesn’t emphasis not to overbeat, but don’t overbeat. (The recipe does, though.)
He plates up the dumplings and adds stew to the plate. He sprinkles over more chives. He spoons out a BIG serving of still-steaming Apple Brown Betty. Wait, he’s adding even more of the Betty. He says you can serve it with a “splash” of heavy cream or ice cream as he’s doing today. He scoops the ice cream beautifully and covers the top with powdered sugar. We leave him debating which to taste first. He opts for the chicken. Perfect, he says.
He’s right about these being American classics. And
Cooking notes: I made Tyler's recipe and the only change I made was to leave out the cream in the stew part. It really didn't need it. I was hesitant to add the amount of salt he called for to the poaching chicken, but I was glad I did. Some reviewers noted they didn't add it all and it was a bit bland.
The dumplings definitely took longer to cook than ten to fifteen minutes. Tyler says on the show, not in the recipe, to turn them over, which isn't easy. I think I would go with the Neelys here (see next post) and cover the pot, although I'm not sure they need 25 minutes. James says 15, covered.