Rosemary Chicken and Dumplings – The Perfect Comfort Food

I don’t know about your area, but it’s been DANG cold here.  Like this cold…

COLD.171608

When it’s this cold, what makes me happiest is pots of simmering goodness on the stove and steaming up windows.  Chicken and dumplings  fits the bill to a tee.

Also, if you’d like to see a demo, here’s me on 207 with Rob Caldwell.  (Next time I’ll get a hair cut!)

Rosemary Chicken And Dumplings
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces (remove the skin if desired; I usually take the skin off the breast and thighs)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
2 cups chopped onion; about 1 large onion
2 cups peeled and chopped carrots; about 2 large carrots
2 cups chopped celery; about 3 stalks of celery
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic; about 3 cloves
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
3 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock

Dumplings:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
3/4 cup milk

Heat the oil in a large, wide stockpot over medium-high heat.  Toss the chicken, flour, salt, pepper and paprika together until the chicken is coated.  Place the chicken in the heated pot and cook until browned on all sides.  Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and herbs; cook for another 10 to 15 minutes until the onions are translucent.  Add the white wine and stock; bring it to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until the meat is tender, about 1 hour.

Dumplings:
Cut the butter into the dry ingredients.  Make a well in the center and add the milk.  Mix just until the milk is incorporated.  Drop 1-inch balls of dough on top of the simmering chicken.  Cover and cook an additional 10 minutes. NO PEEKING!

Serves 4 to 6

A Perfect Snowy Day Dinner – Mashed Potato, Portobello Mushrooms & Swiss Chard w/Goat Cheese

The word “casserole” conjures up images of canned cream of-fill-in-the-blank soup from my childhood.  I grew up in the Midwest, in a household that watched the price of milk and bought in bulk when it went on sale, which meant that we were no stranger to casseroles of the tuna variety and others.   While my food tastes have changed and so have my parents’ tastes, right along with their income, I still occasionally call home for a childhood recipe when I’m looking for a one-pot meal to satisfy my children and the child who still lives in me.

Simply put, while the name is old-fashioned, a casserole is just a one-pot meal with the protein starch and vegetable all in one dish.  Preferably with a crispy topping, please.  Casseroles from our past don’t have to include canned soup to be hearty, one-pot meals.  And they don’t have to be something only served for a weeknight dinner.  Served in individual bowls or large ramekins and topped with a garnish, you quickly turn an everyday meal into a simple meal fit for entertaining.

This is a wonderful comfort meal for a snowy, winter evening, with friends or just family.

Casserole of Mashed Potato, Portobello Mushrooms and Swiss Chard with Goat Cheese

For the mushrooms and Swiss chard:

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 Portobello mushrooms
1 bunch Swiss chard, coarsely chopped and cleaned well
1/2 teaspoon salt
several grinds of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

For the potatoes:
8 medium red potatoes, peeled and whole
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for the water

4 oz. goat cheese

For the mushrooms and Swiss chard:
Preheat oven to 400°.  Place the mushrooms and Swiss chard on a roasting pan and sprinkle with oil, salt and pepper.  Roast for 40-45 minutes.  The Swiss chard may be done before the mushrooms at about 30 minutes.  It’s done when it’s wilted and the stems are tender.  Remove the Swiss chard with tongs and transfer to a medium sized bowl.  Toss with balsamic vinegar.  Continue to cook the mushrooms until they begin to get darker on the edges.  When the mushrooms are done, let them cool briefly and then slice thinly into long strips.

For the potatoes:
Place the potatoes in a medium stockpot and cover with salted water.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender when poked with a fork.  Drain the water; add the butter, milk and salt and whip with a hand mixer.

Reduce oven heat to 350°.  In four 2-cup oven proof bowls, layer the potatoes, mushrooms and Swiss chard, beginning and ending with the potatoes.  Sprinkle with goat cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges of the potatoes begin to brown.

Serves 4 (or 6 if you use smaller bowls)