On our birthdays, my five sisters and I were allowed to pick our dinner of choice - Mom's Chicken and Dumplings was the usual winner. It's been tweaked over the years but the basic comfort of the dish remains. This recipe can be doubled (in two pots) or halved - easily - but why would you? Leftovers make the best cream of chicken soup. Ever. —Canned
For the chicken stew
chicken thighs, skin removed
2 1/2 tablespoons
olive oil (bacon fat is a welcome substitute)
Salt and pepper, to taste
leeks, cleaned well, white and light green parts split in half lengthwise and sliced into half moons
celery stalks, cleaned and sliced
zucchini, quartered lengthwise and then sliced
yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and then sliced
red bell pepper, diced
Chile de arbol, pinched into small pieces
Rosemary sprigs, leaves finely minced
white wine or white vermouth
turkey or chicken stock - homemade is best
Place the olive oil (or bacon fat ) in very large oven proof pot with a cover and warm over medium high heat. (I use a Le Creuset 13 quart pot I bought on ebay). Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and lightly brown the thighs in batches in the oil.
Remove the thighs to a platter and reduce heat to medium. Add the garlic, celery, leeks and red pepper to the pot and sweat, stirring. Add the fennel seed, rosemary and chile de arbol. Stir to combine.
Return the chicken thighs to the pot. Add the wine. When the wine begins to boil, add the stock (if the stock does not cover the chicken and vegetables by about 2 inches, add additional water or stock), bay leaf and sundried tomatoes, if using. Bring to a simmer and transfer the pot, uncovered, to the preheated oven. Cook at a simmer in the oven for about 40 minutes.
After 40 minutes, add the zucchini, squash and peas to the chicken. After adding the zucchini, squash and peas, take the dumpling dough and drop it on top of the chicken mixture in large tablespoons. Return the pot to the oven and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Cover the pot and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
Remove the pot from the oven and serve in shallow bowls, 2 chicken thighs per person, a ladleful of broth and a couple of dumplings. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
For the dumplings
Mix together ingredients in a large bowl with a wooden spoon only until just combined. Do not overmix. Set aside while the chicken cooks and proceed as noted above.