Monday, June 22, 2009

Bill Neal's Southern Cooking: Creamy Mushroom Chicken and Dumplings

How do you improve on chicken and dumplings?  That is an excellent question.  And one I thought was silly until I saw the recipe for this dish of beauty.  You improve on chicken and dumplings by dumping a bunch of mushrooms and cream in it.  The answer was so obvious.  Now I'm wondering if maybe I should throw some bacon in next time, too...

Creamy Mushroom Chicken and Dumplings
Adapted from Bill Neal's Southern Cooking

1 cooked rotisserie chicken, skin and bones removed
3 ounces chicken, duck, or goose fat (or unsalted butter)
1 cup chopped white onion
2 cups sliced white mushrooms
1 garlic clove, minced
9 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 cups chicken stock
½ cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
Hot pepper sauce (like Tabasco or Frank's)
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 large egg plus enough whole milk to equal ⅞ cup

Pull cooked chicken into bite-size pieces and set aside.

In a large pot, cook onion in chicken fat until translucent. Add mushrooms and cook until water is released and then cooked away. Add garlic and cook another few minutes. Sprinkle flour over vegetables and combine. Cook for a few minutes, but do not let flour brown. Add chicken stock, heavy cream, black pepper, and hot pepper sauce and stir to combine.

Bring liquid in pot to a simmer, and allow to bubble for about 15 minutes. Add chicken, and continue to simmer another 15 minutes. The liquid will thicken slightly.

Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar together in a small bowl. Make an indention in the middle for the liquid ingredients. Beat egg with milk and pour into the small indention. Mix liquids with dry ingredients until a dough is formed. Drop in small spoonfuls over chicken stew, stirring to make more room. When all dumplings are in the pot, cover with a lid and simmer slowly for 10 minutes. Serve hot.

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