This old-fashioned dish is just right when it's damp and chilly outside. While this recipe tastes like it's been cooking all day, you actually can prepare it with your kids when they get home from school.
And when the yummy dumplings puff up over the thick chicken stew, they'll know it's the signal to gather the family 'round for conversation and this satisfying, hearty meal.
CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS
1 chicken (3 1/2 pounds), cut up into 6-8 pieces
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup flour
6 cups chicken broth
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
8 ounces fresh mushrooms sliced
1 teaspoon thyme
Chopped parsley, for garnish
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
Rinse chicken, and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat butter in large skillet over medium heat, and brown chicken pieces until golden, about 4-5 minutes on each side. Transfer chicken to large pot or Dutch oven.
Over medium-high heat, sauté onion in the drippings in skillet until softened, about 5 minutes. Add more butter if necessary. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly browned, about 1 minute. Slowly add 1 cup of chicken broth, stirring constantly and letting mixture bubble between additions to make a gravy. Transfer to pot of chicken. Add remaining broth, celery, carrots, mushrooms and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare dough. Let your child measure and, using a fork, mix the dry dumpling ingredients in mixing bowl. Add milk and stir just until the mixture is moistened.
An adult should gently stir the stew mixture once, then drop dough in spoonfuls on the simmering liquid. I like small dumplings, about 2 tablespoons each (yields 18). Cover, and simmer about 20 minutes, undisturbed, until dumplings are puffed and dry in center.
To serve, arrange chicken, vegetables and dumplings in wide, shallow bowls. Ladle gravy over each serving. Let your child sprinkle parsley on top for a fresh garnish. Serves 6 to 8.
Note: If you prefer to serve boneless chicken, before step 5, remove chicken pieces from cooking pot. Take chicken off bones, shred and return meat to pot.
Donna Erickson's award-winning series "Donna's Day" is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit donnasday.com and link to the new Donna's Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families." (c) 2015 Donna Erickson. Distributed by King Features Synd.