Man Alive, this was good a good dinner! Last night I was in one of those moods to cook something special for all of us. Somehow, I felt we were all in need of a treat, so I decided to make the effort to cook something extra delicious for all of us.
To satisfy all of our particular tastes, I tried to cook a little part of what everyone really likes. I like chicken (obvious) so I had to cook thighs and breasts (for those of us who like dark and light meat). We all love mushrooms and the crusty topping (this also eliminated the need to cook a starch). My son loves lettuce and my daughter loves peas, and myself and my man Dave like anything green.
We were all very happy for our own particular reasons. It was a little more work than the usual Tuesday dinner, but it had the effect of a strong medicine. Everyone came out from under their clouds, and we had a lovely evening together.
For the Chicken; you will need: 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 1 medium sweet onion, diced, 2 rosemary sprigs, leaves removes & finely chopped, 1/2 lb white mushrooms, diced, 1 tbs unsalted butter, 2 tbs all-purpose flour, 2 1/2 cups chicken broth, coarse sea-salt, several grinds black pepper.
For the Dumpling crust; You will need: 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour., 4 oz cold unsalted butter (1 stick), 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp sea-salt, 2/3 cups milk (any %)
For the Simmered peas; You will need: 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped, 2 cups baby peas (I used frozen), 1 clove garlic, finely chopped, 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 1 cup chicken broth, sea-salt & freshly ground black pepper.
Preheat oven 400*
1 – Prep all ingredients as instructed above.
2 – Season chicken with coarse sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put a saute pan on high heat and let it warm up. Add a couple of tbs of extra-virgin olive oil and when it is hot add 1/2 of the chicken and sear on both sides until browned. Remove to a heavy casserole as you go, and add more oil as needed.
3 – Turn heat down, add some more oil if need and add the onions. Cook for 5 minutes before adding the chopped rosemary leaves and diced mushrooms. Continue to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 tbs of unsalted butter and when it melts, add the flour. Stir it into the onion mixture for about 1 minute.
4 – Add the broth and turn heat up. Stir constantly until it reaches simmering point. Turn off heat, taste sauce for further seasoning and adjust accordingly. Pour sauce (making sure to scrape out every last scrap with a spatula) over chicken waiting in casserole dish. cover with heavy lid and place in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
5 – While chicken is in the oven, make the dumpling crust; Put the flour in a bowl and add the salt, pepper and baking powder. Whisk to incorporate. Add the cold butter in slices and rub into the flour until you have a fine ruble, using your fingertips.
Add the milk, and stir with a wooden spoon until you have a dough ball. If it seems sticky, add a little more flour. Leave in the bowl covered with a cloth until ready to put on top of your chicken dish.
6 – Remove chicken from the oven after allotted time and remove lid. Using your hands, pull dough from the dough ball and place on top of the chicken until you have covered the entire top. (there should be sort of uniform in size, and be about the size of a large table spoonful). There will be gaps and that is the way it is supposed to be.
Place back into the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the crust has lightly browned all over. Remove from oven and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.
7 – Five minutes before the chicken come out of the oven, put a saute pan on medium heat and add the oil. Cook the garlic for 1 minutes before adding the broth. Let the broth come to a boil, and then add the peas. Add some salt and freshly ground pepper. Bring back to a boil and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes.
8 – Add the chopped romaine lettuce and stir. Cook for a further 5 minutes at a gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lettuce is cooked, but still has a good crunch. Turn off heat.
Divide the chicken dish between each plate (which has been warmed of course!) and give everyone a serving of greens.