Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Chicken Fricot with Dumplings
This one is Acadian in origin and, like many good things, starts with bacon. I cooked the bacon in a big stock pot until the fat melted off, and then browned the chicken in it, removed the chicken, and sauteed some onions in the bacon fat. I sprinkled the onions with flour and made a sort of roux. Next the chicken went back into the pot with a quart and a half of water and simmered for an hour. The chicken came back out and in went some chopped carrots, potatoes and thyme to cook for a half hour longer.
While the roots cooked I pulled the chicken meat off the bones and prepared the dumplings: a simple batter of whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, butter (cut into bits and rubbed into the flour) and cold water. I added a bit too much water to compensate for the whole wheat flour and ended up with a very thin batter. I even let it sit for a few minutes to thicken, but it flatly refused.
Finally (and this is the best part) - the chopped chicken returned to the pot and the dumpling batter splatted on top. Together they simmered, covered, for 10 minutes, and then uncovered for a final 5 minutes. Because the batter was so thin, these dumplings were very light and soft, and by the time leftovers came around, had disintegrated into the stew. Next time I would use less water (I only added an extra ounce) or more flour. Altogether the flavor was phenomenal, and the velvety texture made this the definition of comfort food. If I need a chicken stew recipe, this one will be high on my list.