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I told you fall recipes were coming. Now that the chill has really started to set in (I won’t complain- summer held on for a while) I have busted out all my big hit fall recipes in the last few weeks. Brett doesn’t know what has hit him- we go from fresh salads and grilled chicken to straight up soups, stews, pot roasts.

I’m. READY. for. you. fall.

Actually, as I’m sitting here typing this up, red wine in one hand (another sure sign of fall, when I allow Brett to pry the Rosé from my hand and switch it with a Pinot Noir) I can feel my nose getting a bit stuffy. The dreaded first cold weather cold. I’ve been in denial for days but Rowan has had a bit of a stuffiness that I knew I was bound to get eventually.

 

Once, Brett caught on that I was in the mood for pulling out my cold weather classics he had THE request– “That chicken stew you make with the leeks and dumplings!” 

 

Ah yes, that smitten kitchen recipe that is very old now. I rarely make it, because it is incredibly time-consuming. I usually save it for a snowy day in the middle of a blizzard. You know the days- where there is nothing else to do but to cook all day and reap the benefits with a delicious bone warming meal.

It DOES take a little bit of extra love, but a little love goes a long way…

 

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Anyways, I felt like sharing this one, it was one of the first recipes and food blogs that inspired me to seek out, test and play with new dishes online. It holds a special place in our household. It’s nothing fancy but it’s a special treat we have only a handful of times a year. We look forward to those cozy cold days where there is nowhere to be but home sharing a bowl of soup. Sometimes it seems like it takes a blizzard to remember to slow down and be present at home. So carve out a little bit of time and try this out!

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Chicken and Dumplings with Leeks and Tarragon

adapted from smittenkitchen

Stew:

  • 5lbs bone-in, skin on, Chicken Thighs.
  • 2 medium Leeks, soaked and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 large White Onion, chopped
  • 4 cups Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1/4 cup Dry Sherry (I use cooking sherry from the grocery store)
  • 6 Tbsp All-purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Frozen Peas
  • 1 tsp fresh Thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried), chopped
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 3 Tbsp fresh Tarragon, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
  • Salt + Pepper

Dumplings:

  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 3 Tbsp reserved chicken fat

Pat the chicken thighs dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a dutch over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken and cook both sides until golden brown and crispy (they do not need to be cook through just enough to easily pull the skin off ) About 10 minutes each side. Set aside on a plate. Use the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil to brown and par-cook the remaining half of chicken and put aside. Pour off the chicken fat but reserve 3 Tbsp for the dumplings. Pull off and discard the skins of the chicken thighs as best you can. Again, the chicken will not be fully cooked yet.

Bring your dutch oven back up to medium-high heat and melt your butter. Add leeks, onion, salt, and pepper. Once soft, after about 5-10 minutes, stir in the 6 Tbsp of flour. Add the sherry and scrape up any brown spots left over from the chicken. Pour in chicken stock, milk, bay leaves, thyme, and tarragon. Careful place all the chicken thighs along with any juices that have collected in the plate. Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about an hour.

Turn off your pot and remove the chicken thighs to a large cutting board. Shred your chicken with a fork and discard the bones. Once the stew has settled a little, skim off any fat that might be on the surface as best you can. Return shredded chicken to the dutch oven and reheat to a simmer.

Mix the flour and baking powder for the dumplings in a bowl. In a separate microwave-safe bowl, mix the milk and chicken fat and heat on slow for a little under 1 minute. Keep an eye on it! You do not want to overheat it, just warm it enough that the fat is workable to mix in. Stir the milk/chicken fat mixture to the flour/baking powder with a wooden spoon until it’s smooth and sticky.

Stir the frozen peas into the stew and add more salt and pepper to taste. Drop in your dumplings by gathering about a golf ball sized piece of dough on a spoon and scraping off with a second spoon. You should have about 15-20 of them and they will be crowded and touching. Cover and simmer for another 15 minutes until dumplings have doubled in size. Then serve!

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Chicken and Dumplings with Leeks and Tarragon

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