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Chicken Stew with Ricotta-Chive Dumplings

Chris Henry posted my recipe for Chicken Cacciatore over on Peninsular Thinking as a follow up to her story on our Chickens 101 class.  That is my favorite recipe for stewing hens, but Harley suggested his favorite was this chicken stew and dumpling recipe.  It is pretty good too.  It is from Chefs on the Farm featuring the Quillisascut Farm School with photographs by Harley.  Check out the review here.  This is a “spring” stew because it features chives.  Winter variations can feature dried herbs or sage or rosemary as well.

Place a large (or two small) stewing hen in a pot with 1 onion, 3 stalks celery, 3 large carrots, two bay leaves, sage, thyme, parsley and 1 Tbsp pepper corns.  Simmer 2-3 hours on low.  Strain stock, discard vegetables, shred chick off the bones and reserve.  This can also be done in a crock pot on high for 4-5 hours or 8-10 hours on low.

For the Stew:

  • 2 Tbsp chicken fat or olive oil
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 1 pound carrots, diced
  • 1 stalk green garlic or 3-4 cloves thinly sliced
  • 4 c stock
  • 4 c shredded chicken
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme (1 Tbsp dry)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Saute veggies in oil or fat until onions are tender, add stock, bring to simmer and cook until vegetables are tender.  Add shredded chicken and time.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Dumplings:

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese (make your own)
  • 1/2 c fresh chived, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c corn meal
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 3 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together, do not over mix.  Drop by spoonfuls into the simmering stew.  (Tip: use an ice cream scoop for nice round dumplings.  Cookie-sized for small ones, regular-sized for big ones).  Simmer small dumplings 4 minutes or until tender, larger dumplings will take 7-9 minutes.  Turn them over and simmer for 2-3 minutes longer.  Serve hot.  You will be tempted to lick the bowl. Winter Variation:  Potatoes, with sage in the dumplings instead of chives is also good.

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