Chicken & Dumplings

*Chicken & Dumplings*
Serves 4

If you have someone special in your life that you want to do something special for, make em this. This is guaranteed to put a smile on literally anyone's face! The recipe can easily be doubled successfully.

For the Chicken gravy:
4 TBS butter, cut into pieces
70g plain flour (1/2 cup)
830ml warm chicken broth or stock (3 1/2 cups)
salt and black pepper to taste
1 large carrot, peeled and diced (3/4 cup)
3 ribs celery, plus the leaves, chopped (1 1/4 cups)

For the Dumplings:
140g plain flour (1 cup)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 TBS cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
80ml whole milk (1/3 cup)

You will also need:
3 cups cooked chicken, torn into large pieces
2 TBS fresh parsley to garnish

I use my medium la creuset pan for this.  You will want a dutch oven type of stove top casserole dish with a tight fitting lid.  Add the butter to the pan and melt it over medium low heat.  Once it begins to foam add the celery and the carrot.  Stir to coat and then cover tightly and allow them to sweat over low heat for 5 to 8 minutes.  Stir in the flour and cook for a few minutes to cook out the flour taste.  Slowly whisk in the warm stock, and cook, stirring until the mixture bubbles and thickens.  Let cook on a slow simmer for about 15 minutes at which time the vegetables should have softened nicely.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper.

While the vegetables are cooking make the dumpling dough.  Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Drop in the butter and cut it in with a pastry blender, or two round bladed knives.  Stir in the parsley and milk to make a nice dropping batter.

Stir the chicken into the gravy and heat through. Bring it to a quick simmer.  Drop the dumpling dough  onto the top of the simmering stew by dollops.  Cover tightly and Cook for 20 minutes, until the dumplings are well risen and cooked through.  Don't be tempted to lift the lid to look during that time.  Remember "IF you Be Looking . . . It ain't cooking!"   The quickest way to ruin a good dumpling is to look sneak a peek while they are cooking.  Ladle the finished stew into soup plates, sprinkle with parsley and dig in!

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