Monday, November 2, 2009

Chicken & Vegetable Stew With Parsley Dumplings

I've tried many a chicken & dumplings recipe, and I certainly have my favorite, but this particular recipe certainly beats every version I've ever made. Hands-down. It's fantastic!! I couldn't even wait until the end of this post to tell you the verdict. It is that good!! We ate this meal a couple nights ago, and although it was our first time to try it out, it certainly will not be our last! Each member of our family enjoyed it, from my little 3-yr-old girl, to my 5-1/2-yr-old boy, to me, to my husband who had 3 helpings and took all but one dumpling from the pot!
Another great thing about this meal is that it's versatile--make it in a large pot on the stove, in your slow cooker, as a freezer meal...your choice!
For the original recipe, click here. My version is below:
Chicken & Vegetable Stew With Parsley Dumplings
4 bone-in chicken breasts, skins & visible fat removed
4 potatoes, peeled and quartered
4 or 5 carrots, peeled and quartered
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 stalks celery, sliced
4 cups chicken broth or water (I used homemade chicken broth)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tsp dried parsley flakes
2 Tbsp softened margarine
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
Place all ingredients for stew into a 6-qt slow cooker, putting the vegetables on the bottom as they typically take longer to cook. Cook stew on low for 6-8 hours or on high 4-5 hours or until chicken is done and vegetables are tender. Working quickly, remove chicken from bones; discard the bones or reserve for making some homemade chicken broth. (If you do not want to use a slow cooker, you can cook all stew ingredients in a large saucepan, bringing the ingredients to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, covered for 20 minutes.) After cooking, I froze this meal. If you do not want to freeze but want to serve immediately, prepare the dumplings about 30 minutes before serving time. Using a spoon, mix all dumpling ingredients in a small bowl. The batter will be a little sticky looking. Using your fingers or a tablespoon, drop by tablespoonfuls onto hot stew. I probably had about 10 mounds. Cover your slow cooker and allow dumplings to cook 15-20 minutes. To check for doneness, split a dumpling in half with a spoon. The inside of your dumpling should be cooked through.
If freezing: Prepare stew in slow cooker as directed above either using the slow cooker method or the saucepan on your stove. Do not make dumplings. Allow stew to cook, then drain the chicken broth from the chicken & vegetables. Reserve the broth and put into a freezer bag (you will probably want to mark it for your stew so you don't accidentally use your homemade broth for something else! :). Put the chicken & vegetables into a gallon-size freezer bag. Freeze both bags. Thaw chicken & vegetable stew and homemade chicken broth 24-48 hours in refrigerator. On serving day, put all stew & broth into a saucepan and bring to a light boil. Meanwhile, make your dumplings and add to the stew once it reaches a boil. Cover and simmer on medium heat for about 15 minutes. Don't let the stew boil hard and don't lift the lid.

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