Sunday, January 16, 2011

Collect your courage.

Collect your courage.

I heard that line in a song today on the radio. I am not sure what song it is from - but those three words totally caught my attention.


That's what I need to do.

I don't think that I have ever really thought of the word 'courage'. I think that when I am needing a kick in the pants - I think of 'strength', or 'inspiration'. But not 'courage'. And really I think that sums it all up. I need courage to get strength, inspiration, hope and all the stuff that I look to when I need help.

My new motto for this week is 'Collect Your Courage'. I am going to see how it goes.

I have been thinking of making a chicken stew all week. So, since today is Sunday, and I want to cook a nice family meal (Sunday series), I thought it was a perfect idea. Jules and I did our weekly shop at the Root Cellar and then the grocery store. We haven't done this 'weekly shop' for quite some time. Months and months. I am not even sure when the last time was. My little wedding, Christmas and feeling 'ugh' totally put me off pattern. I am hoping to get back on pattern so that I am not heading to the grocery store every day after work to pick up stuff for wraps and spaghetti and a can of soup.

Being Sunday we should have a table full - we don't. It will just be Chris and I. Truthfully, we probably won't even sit at the table tonight. We are on episode 9 of 12 in Dexter - and I am itching to see how it ends. Also, I only really invited my mom for dinner - and conveniently she had 'started' cooking her dinner at 10:30 when I went to pick her up for our adventure. I like to give her a hard time - I secretly think that she starts her dinner early so that when I ask her to come over, she can say (in a Marge Simpson tone) 'oh sorry hon, I can't. I have already started my dinner'. And then I say 'well just put it in the fridge and have it tomorrow night'. And then she says 'oh... ya, it won't keep'. Hm. Anyways - it is still a Sunday dinner - with my husb - and the pups at our feet.

I knew how I wanted to cook up the stew - and Jules told me that she used to always make chicken stew and dumplings when we were kids. I told her that I didn't remember having it once. She freaked. :) Then I knew that I wanted to try making them too. I found the Pioneer Woman's recipe for Chicken Stew and Dumplings - copied her idea of shredding the chicken and borrowed her recipe for the dumplings. Mine did not cook the same as hers - so I have had to alter it a bit.

So, let's get started. Sorry for all the pics - but I was happy to have some light when I started cooking today.

Chicken Stew and Dumplings

10 chicken thighs
1/2 cup flour - do not discard the leftover
1 tsp Kosher salt and pepper
Olive oil

2 onions - chopped
Potatoes - I used tiny yukon gold nugget and kept them whole - probably 4-5 cups - use as much or as little as you like
3 carrots - chopped
3 stalks of celery - chopped
2 cups of button mushrooms - fresh and kept whole
1 cup of white wine
3 cups of chicken stock

2 cups of flour
1 tbsp baking powder
Kosher salt
1 1/2 cup half and half

Pre-heat the oven to 375.

Prepare the chicken:
In a large pot (that can go in the oven) - drizzle olive oil and heat over medium. For the chicken, you can choose to remove the skins or not. I chose to remove them and really like the flavour and the consistency. Leaving the skins on will also give the stew a lot of flavour - it's just not as light and healthy (not that this is a really light dish). In a shallow bowl, add the flour and the kosher and pepper. Place the chicken, individually, in the flour and cover both sides. Add the chicken directly to the oil and heat. I did 5 pieces at at time. Brown both sides of the chicken for about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the pot, place on a plate and do the remaining.

Once the chicken is done, add the onions to the pot and saute for a minute. Then add the white wine and let it bring up all the flavourful bits off of the bottom.

Then add the remaining vegetables and broth, give it a good stir. Add a bit of kosher salt and pepper and 1-2 bay leaves if you have them. Place the chicken back in the pot, stir it all together. Place the lid on - or aluminum foil, and put it in the oven for about 1.5 hours. Just let it sit - and do something that you enjoy doing - reading a book, watching an early Canuck game, have a nap...

You can tell when the stew is just about ready when the potatoes are tender. At this time, you may want to thicken it up a bit. What I did, was use the remaining flour from the chicken, add a bit of the stew liquid and whisked it all together to make a bit of a paste. Stirred it in, and watched it thicken. Then shred the chicken - using 2 forks - and add it back to the stew.

Place the pot on the stove now, and heat it over medium-low heat. I am sure that I could have done the dumplings in the oven - but I thought I better try to follow a recipe.

For the dumplings:
In a bowl add all of the dry ingredients. Slowly add in the cream - about 1/2 a cup at a time, and stir it until all of the dry ingredients are absorbed by the cream.

Place spoonfuls of the dumpling mixture on to the top of the stew. Cover the pot slightly and let them simmer for 15 minutes.
*This is what did not work for me. I did that, and then I covered the pot and let it simmer for another 15 minutes and they finally cooked. I probably would have covered them from the beginning.

And that's it!

Chris rated this a 5!! He had two helpings.

Delicious. Hearty. Sunday. Dinner.

Now - I hope that you are all enjoying a Sunday dinner the way you like - with friends and family - co-workers, strangers.

Have a great week.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had so started my dinner early, and I think you ask me late so I can't come JOKE!!!!! Your stew looked delicious. Love yu