Monday, July 12, 2010

Braised Chicken with Cilantro Dumplings

Everyone looks at me funny when I refer to this dish as a casserole. So, let's define the term so that we are all on the same page. According to The Food Lover's Companion, casserole "refers both to a baking dish and the ingredients it contains." The advantage to this kind of cooking is that the food is served in the very same dish in which it was prepared. I made this casserole in a giant metal pot and served it like a family style soup right from the pot. Hearty chunks of vegetables, chicken quarters, and cilantro dumplings with a home-made chicken stock; YUM!


2-4 Chicken Portions (Leg Quarters)
1 Qt. Chicken Stock
2 Leeks, White Part Only, chopped
4 Carrots, chopped
2 Onions, quartered
4 Celery, halved
2 Parsnips, chopped
1 Celeriac, diced
2 Bay Leaves
Thyme Sprigs
3 Lemon Grass Stalks
1 Ginger Root, bruised
Salt & Pepper

Cilantro Dumplings
1-3/4 C. Flour
1 C. Shortening
1/4 C. Cilantro, chopped
3/4 C. Water

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a pot with oil over medium high heat and brown the chicken on each side. (If using a glass casserole dish, transfer the chicken to the glass dish before following further instructions). Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the vegetables and bring back up to a simmer. Finally, add the herbs, ginger, and season. Cover the casserole and let it simmer for 20 minutes, until the chicken is tender.

If you are not a fan of fat, let the casserole cool down (this will take several hours and can even be done a day ahead of time), and then skim the fat from the surface. If, like me, you don't mind fat, then continue on with the recipe.

To make the dumplings, mix the flour, shortening, and cilantro in a bowl with the water. Knead the dough until it is soft but adheres to itself. Shape them into dumplings. I used spoons to make quenelles. Drop the dumplings into the stock and simmer for 10 minutes. The dumplings will double in size and become fluffy. Remove the ginger from the stock and serve.

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