This recipe was created for Ready, Set, Cook! #9. Comfort food like you don't find much anymore. This recipe is a labour of love, but really worth it, and not as difficult as you might think - just make sure all your vegetables are prepped before you start and it'll come together in no time. The use of coconut milk is unusual, but really delicious. If you haven't tried fennel (the bulb), here's a chance to discover your new favorite veggie! Please note that the recipe is not as high in calories as the nutritional analysis would indicate. The chicken is used in the recipe (after poaching) skinned and the stock is defatted.------
- 1 (3 1/2-4 lb) chicken, cut into pieces
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery
- 1 small white onion, halved
- 1 bay leaf
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 cups fresh fennel bulbs, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1 1⁄2 cups carrots, thinly sliced
- 1 1⁄2 cups celery ribs, thinly sliced
- 1 1⁄2 cups button mushrooms (cut in half if on the large side)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1⁄2 cups white potatoes, diced (dice about pea size)
- 1 cup green peas (frozen or fresh)
- 3 cups reserved chicken stock
- 2 cups coconut milk (regular milk can be subbed)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1⁄2 teaspoon fines herbes
- 1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- salt and pepper (careful here, your stock already contains some salt)
- 1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1 extra-large egg
- 3⁄4 cup milk
- 1⁄3 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1⁄2 teaspoon oregano or 1⁄2 teaspoon fines herbes
- To cook the chicken: Place the chicken, carrot, celery, onion, bay leaf, peppercorns and salt in a large pot. Add cold water until chicken is just covered and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a bare simmer and cook for 45 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and let cool for 15 minutes. While the chicken is cooling, continue to boil the remaining water and vegetables in the pot. When the chicken has cooled enough to touch, strip away as much of the meat as you can. Return the chicken bones to the stockpot and continue to boil, on high heat, until the stock has reduced to approximately 3 cups. While the stock is reducing, cut up the chicken meat into pieces you'd like to see on the end of your fork. Strain stock through a sieve or colander. Press down on solids slightly to extract more stock. Discard solids (chicken bones and veggies). (the chicken and stock can be cooked up to a day ahead and kept refrigerated). Remove the layer of fat that forms on top of the stock after it has been refrigerated, and discard.
- Prepare the filling: In a large saucepan, melt butter on medium heat. Add the onions, fennel, carrots, celery, mushrooms and garlic, and cook until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, one minute more. Add potatoes, peas, stock, coconut milk, oregano, thyme (or fines herbes) and nutmeg. Season to taste. Decrease the heat to low and simmer for 8 minutes, stirring often (you can make dumplings at this point). Stir in the chicken and 2 tblpss parsley.
- Prepare the dumplings: Mix flour, baking powder, salt, oregano and parsley in a medium bowl. Combine egg and milk and stir into dry ingredients. Mix gently with a fork until a soft dough is formed.
- Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of dumpling dough on the surface of the chicken stew (you should get about 15 dumplings); cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Do not peek - the steam is what cooks your dumplings through.
- Spoon portions of chicken, sauce, vegetables, and dumplings into soup plates and serve immediately.