I had to make homemade chicken and dumplings. Because as if overnight (and I'm keen to think that's how it happened) it would seem as if the season has changed.
Just last week I was roasting in the summer sun as I picked the ripe tomatoes from the vine, only to find myself bundled in a down jacket before heading out to do our morning milking this past week.
I have time now in the mornings for a cup of espresso, with a dash of fresh milk, before heading out to do the morning milking with Cecelia. It's either take the time to wake up, drink a hot cup of coffee, and head out a bit later or milk in the dark. I'd much prefer the former.
I don't mind the change of the temperature, and truth be told, the break from the heat is welcomed. This time of the year is pure magic in the Pacific Northwest and I'm ready to soak up the very best it has to offer.
Homemade chicken and dumplings, certainly, are included in that very best.
Also included in that very best: ripe pears gleaned from a nearby organic orchard, fresh radishes and turnips from the garden, the honey harvest, and more apple butter than I can possibly devour.
Homemade Chicken and Dumplings
It takes time, but it's worth it. If you want to skip the time-consuming bit, just start with a rotisserie chicken and canned chicken stock. It won't be as good, but it'll still be wonderful.
For the Chicken and Chicken Stock
– 1 3-5 pound chicken
– 8 cups filtered water
– 1/4 cup cider vinegar
– Pinch of peppercorns
– A few stalks of celery, a few carrots, a few onions… whatever you have laying about
Combine the chicken, water, vinegar, peppercorns, and vegetable bits together in a large pot or dutch oven. Bring to a simmer, cover, and allow to very gently simmer for 8-12 hours. Remove the chicken from the stock and let it cool. Strain the stock to remove any stray bits of bone, skin, or vegetables.
For the Chicken Stew
– 4 tablespoons butter
– 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2″ slices
– 4 stalks celery, cut into 1/2″ slices
– 1 onion, minced
– 1/4 cup cognac
– 6 tablespoons all-purpose einkorn flour
– Meat from one chicken (from making stock, above), removed from the bone
– Reserved chicken stock (from making stock, above), about 6 cups
– 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme
– Sea salt and pepper
1. Melt the butter in a large pot. Add in the carrot, celery, onion, and a pinch of salt – sauté until soft and tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Add in the cognac and flour and whisk to combine, taking care to scrap up any browned bits from the pan and to break up any small bits of flour.
3. Add in the chicken, chicken stock, thyme, a generous pinch of sea salt, and freshly ground pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover, reduce the heat to low, and allow the ingredients to mingle for 20-30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and upper.
4. Right before you're ready to serve, prepare the dumplings. How? How do I prepare dumplings? Don't worry. I'm about to tell you.
For the Dumplings
– 2 cups all-purpose einkorn flour
– 3/4 cup warm milk
– 3 tablespoons melted butter
– 1 teaspoon sea salt
– 1 tablespoons baking powder
1. Whisk the flour, milk, butter, salt, and baking powder together in a bowl with a fork until combined, smooth, and fluffy.
2. Drop the dumpling dough by the spoonful into the hot, simmering chicken stew. You should be able to fit about 12-15 dumplings into the pot. Cover the pot and allow the dumplings to cook thoroughly, about 15 more minutes.
3. Garnish with fresh parsley, because it looks beautiful. And that matters.
Is there anything you'd rather tuck into? Poached pears. Red wine. Stuart's cozy socks that he gets super irritated when I steal. It doesn't get any better.
In other news, is anyone else finding themselves tired at 7:30 pm? That's what time it's been getting dark here already and I've found myself slipping into the slumber a wee bit earlier than is socially acceptable. I'm sorry world, what was that? You need me to function and take care of my children past 7:45 pm? I'm not allowed to slip into a bubble bath and state of Netflix nirvana until at least 8:03 pm? Fu-get-about-it. It's fall now. I do what I want.
And part of what I want to do is make homemade chicken and dumplings, wear my flannel shirts I've been missing all summer long, and go to bed at 7:50 pm.
Homemade chicken and dumplings, my friends. Get you some.