Thursday, January 31, 2019

Hen and Dumplings

For stewing the hen and broth:
1 (3-4 pound) chicken
3 quarts cold water
3 medium carrots, peeled
3 celery stalks
1 small onion, halved
1 head garlic, halved crosswise, plus 1 clove grated
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black peppercorns
1-1/4  cups dry white wine
1 large leek, white & green parts cut into medium dice and washed; green top washed and reserved
1 cup torn herbs, like parsley, dill, chervil, chives, for garnish

For dumplings: 
1 slice white bread, crust removed and bread torn into small pieces
1/4 cup stock
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely diced shallots
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
6 ounces ground veal or chicken
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sliced chives
zest of 1 lemon

1. In a 6-quart stockpot, combine chicken with cold water.  Bring to simmer over high heat.  Begin to skim away any fat or scum from surface.  Add one carrot, one celery stalk, onion, split garlic head, bay leaves, 1 tablespoon salt, peppercorns and 1 cup wine.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until chicken is tender, 2-1/2 - 3 hours.

2.  Transfer chicken to cutting board.  When cool enough to handle, remove skin and meat.  Return bones to the pot.  Simmer, uncovered, 1-1/2-2 hours and add leek tops for last 30 minutes.

3.  While stock simmers, prepare dumplings.  Heat oven to 450 degrees. Soak bread in 1/4 cup chicken stock for 5 minutes, squeeze out excess.  Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large, oven-proof pan over medium heat.  Add shallots, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and saute 7-8 minutes.  Meanwhile, mince soaked bread and about 10 ounces of the reserved chicken meat and skin. In a bowl combine, minced bread/chicken mixture with ground veal or chicken, eggs, chives, lemon zest and 1/2 tsp salt.  Add shallots.  Form into golf-ball sized dumplings and refrigerate 1 hour.

4.  Heat pan used for shallots over medium heat and add remaining butter.  Gently add dumplings to skillet and let cook, undisturbed until browned, 5 minutes.  Use soup spoons to gently flip dumplings.  Transfer skillet to oven and bake 12-15 minutes until firm, basting dumplings with butter form pan midway through cooking.

5.  Pour stock through a fine-mesh strainer.  (You should have about 2 quarts. Top with water if necessary.)  Discard vegetables and bones.  Chop remaining leeks, carrots and celery into bite-size pieces.  Return stock to simmer and add chopped vegetables and remaining wine.  Simmer until just soft, about 4 minutes. Add herbs and remove pot from heat. Divide dumplings among 4-5 bowls and ladle soup over top.