Last night had to be an all around crowd-pleaser. I was cooking for eight different palates (which included 4 children under the age of 12). I settled on chicken because it is the mildest tasting meat and can be the base for all kinds of different dishes.
I also wanted to use the gorgeous celery I got in my crop share box this week (see top right of blog for more info.). The profusion of leaves on each little rib would impart flavor on everything it came in contact with.
There also had to be a comfort element. I did not want to use pasta even though most kids love it. I settled on something which gave the dish a more festive and cozy feel. I made buttery dumplings, which turned out fluffy and the perfect vehicle for sopping up the broth.
I added smokiness to the broth using adobo sauce. Adobo is the sauce that chipotle peppers come in, if you buy it from the supermarket in a can. The smokey peppers are fantastic, but I sometimes just use the thick sauce in dishes for their smokey heat. The dish is also good without this, but I think you should be adventurous and try it out at least one time.
We all sat around the table cupping our bowls of food, chatting in-between yummy mouthfuls. There wasn’t a scrap left in the pan when we are done. That was the best indicator to me of a very good evening.
You will need: 8 chicken thigh cutlets, 2 chicken breast fillets, 4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 1 large sweet onion, diced, 3 red peppers, very large dice, leaves & top ribs from 4 celery leaves, chopped, 4 tbs flat-leafed parsley leaves, 5 fresh sage leaves, 2 tsp paprika, 3 tbs adobo sauce (you can find adobo sauce in the can marked; chipotle peppers with adobo, in the ethnic section of your supermarket. Note; adobo is on the hot side, so use two tbs if you are feeling nervous), 3 tbs all-purpose flour, 5 cups chicken broth, sea-salt and freshly cracked pepper for seasoning chicken, and, to taste.
For dumplings; You will need; 3 cups self-raising flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 1/2 tbs unsalted butter, 1 cup milk (any %).
Preheat oven 400*
1 – Put big saute pan on high heat and add 2 tbs of oil. When oil is hot sear chicken in batches until brown on each side. You will need to add more oil as you go. Put chicken on a plate and set aside as you go.
2 – Turn pan down and add onions, celery and peppers. Saute until starting to soften (about 8 minutes). Add herbs and paprika and stir into the veggies. Add the flour and mix until incorporated.
3 – Add 2 cups of broth and turn heat up to high. Stir and continue to add broth 1 cup at a time. Bring liquid to a simmer and add seared chicken pieces.
5 – place in oven for 35 minutes. While chicken is cooking, make the dumplings.
Put flour in bowl and add the salt and several grinds of black pepper. Whisk to incorporate. Add the butter in pieces, and rub into the flour with your fingertips until the flour resembles “ruble” Add the milk and mix with a wooden spoon until you have a big dough ball. If you need to add more flour to achieve this, do so 1 tablespoon at a time. If it is too sticky, add more flour.
6 – Remove chicken form the oven and roll dough into balls and place on the top of your chicken and broth. Keep going until you have used all the dough (it doesn’t take very long at all).
7 – Place back into the oven until dumplings are golden brown (between 15 and 20 minutes). Let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.