When I was choosing my meals to make for the week, I didn’t look super close at the time requirements of this recipe and missed the one hour cook time for the chicken. Since I had already bought 5 pounds of chicken thighs, I was kind of stuck using this recipe, but luckily Seth is around on weekends so it makes these more time consuming meals possible. After all was said and done I think it took me close to 3 hours to get this on the table. Keep in mind I wasn’t rushing around the kitchen or anything, so if you work faster than I do it’s highly possible it won’t take you that long.
The question is, was all that time and effort worth the results? It’s hard to say. I mean, this turned out really good and I feel better feeding my family purely homemade food. So, if you’ve got the extra time, go ahead and make this. If you don’t and don’t mind a few store-bought substitutes, try this other winner from Sandra Lee. You can’t lose with either recipe.
“Don’t use low-fat or fat-free milk in this recipe. Be sure to reserve 3 tablespoons chicken fat for the dumplings; however, if you prefer not to use chicken fat, unsalted butter can be substituted. Start the dumpling dough only when you’re ready to top the stew with the dumplings.”
- 5 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 12 thighs)
- table salt & fresh ground pepper
- 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (½ stick)
- 4 carrots, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
- 2 celery ribs, sliced ¼ inch thick
- 1 large onion, minced
- 6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup dry sherry
- 4 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
- ¼ cup whole milk (see note)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leave, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3 tablespoons reserved chicken fat (or unsalted butter)
For the Stew:
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of the chicken and cook until golden on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and remove the browned skin. Pour off the chicken fat and reserve. Return the pot to medium-high heat and repeat with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and the remaining chicken. Pour off and reserve any chicken fat.
Add the butter to the Dutch oven and melt over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the flour. Whisk in the sherry, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in the broth, milk, thyme, and bay leaves. Nestle the chicken, with any accumulated juices, into the pot. Cover and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked and tender, about 1 hour.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Discard the bay leaves. Allow the sauce to settle for a few minutes, then skim the fat from the surface using a wide spoon. Shred the chicken,(using two forks), discarding the bones, then return it to the stew.
For the Dumplings:
Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Microwave the milk and fat in a microwave-safe bowl on high until just warm (do not over-heat), about 1 minute. Stir the warmed milk mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until incorporated and smooth. Return the stew to a simmer, stir in the peas and parsley, and season with salt and pepper.
Drop golf-ball-sized dumplings over the top of the stew, about 1/4 inch apart (you should have about 18 dumplings). Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the dumplings have doubled in size, 15 to 18 minutes. Serve.