Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Shaker Chicken Stew with Scallion Dumplings

Three years ago, when Storey first published Dishing Up Maine, I used two recipes from the book to cook a birthday dinner for my then boyfriend (he has since moved up to fiancรฉ status). I chose Mussels Steamed with Leeks and Mustard Cream, page 200, for the appetizer and Shaker Chicken Stew with Scallion Dumplings, page 158, for the main course. Since then, the Shaker Chicken Stew has become one of our favorite fall/winter dinners.

Last night I prepared it and made a double batch to share with our families. We gave some to Ryan's father last night, and I dropped some off to my grandmother and mother on my way to work this morning. I, of course, kept some so Ryan and I could have a second meal, too!

Here is the recipe:

Shaker Chicken Stew with Scallion Dumplings

Chicken Stew

5 cups chicken broth
½ pounds bone-in chicken thighs, excess fat removed (see Note below)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 large bay leaf, broken in half
2 teaspoons dried thyme
½ cups baby carrots (about ¾ pound)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Scallion Dumplings
½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons minced scallions or chives
3 tablespoons chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 5 pieces
½ cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons whole, low-fat, or skim milk

1. To make the Chicken Stew, bring the broth to a boil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the chicken, onion, celery, bay leaf, and thyme. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the chicken is about three-quarters cooked, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the carrots, and continue to cook until the chicken is no longer pink, about 10 minutes longer. Remove from the heat.

2. Remove the chicken to a plate, and when cool enough to handle, strip off the skin, remove the meat from the bones, and cut into 2-inch chunks. Return the chicken meat to the broth, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. To make the Scallion Dumplings, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the scallions. Work the shortening into the flour mixture, using your fingertips or a fork, until most of the pieces are about the size of small peas. Add ½ cup of the milk, and stir with a fork until the dough comes together in a sticky mass. If the mixture seems dry, add some or all of the remaining milk.

4. Return the stew to a simmer. Dip a tablespoon into the simmering liquid, scoop out a rounded spoonful of dumpling dough, and drop it into the simmering stew. Repeat with the remaining dough, forming 12 to 14 dumplings. Cover the pot, and simmer over low heat until the dumplings look shiny on top and are firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Serve into shallow soup bowls.

Note: If time is short, use about 1¾ pounds skinless, boneless thighs and cook for about half the time.

Kristy MacWilliams, Marketing Manager

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