Winter arrived with a blast of arctic air last week. Temperatures on the mountain never made it above the single digits, and when you factored in the wind chills it was definitely hunker down, stay inside cold! Sub zero weather is perfect for hearty soups and stews, so I decided use up some leftover chicken to make Chicken Stew and Dumplings for my boys. This is what I think of when I think of comfort food although my Mother used to refer to chicken and dumplings as “Depression Food”, (referring to the Great Depression). It’s the kind of meal that is simple to prepare, nutrient dense, and inexpensive to make. Be creative with the spices and vegetable additions. I used turnips in my stew because, like the cooked chicken they needed to be eaten.
Ingredients for Chicken Stew
6 Cups homemade Chicken Bone Broth or Organic Chicken Broth
4 Cups cooked, Cubed or Shredded Chicken Meat (breast or thighs work best)
1 Cup sliced fresh Mushrooms
1 Cup Onion chopped
3 Cups diced Turnips
2 Cups chopped Carrots
2 Cups chopped celery
4 Tablespoons Pastured Butter
2 Tablespoons Tapioca Flour or Arrowroot Flour (more if you like it thicker)
3 Bay leaves
3 teaspoons dried sage
3 teaspoons dried thyme
3 teaspoons dried rosemary
3 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Celtic Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste
(NOTE: I make a spice bag of fresh herbs and my bone broth is well seasoned. Feel free to vary the amounts of spices listed above for your families taste).
Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.
Add vegetables and spices and cook stirring frequently until vegetables have softened (approximately 3 to 5 minutes).
Reduce heat to low and add the bone broth and cooked chicken.
Cover the pot with a lid and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes (stirring occasionally).
To thicken into a stew: In a small bowl mix tapioca/arrowroot with ½ cup of the hot broth until a smooth paste is formed.
Mix the paste into the pot and stir or whisk rapidly until thickened.
NOTE: You may need to repeat this step if you like your stew thicker, just go slowly and add 1 Tablespoon of Tapioca/Arrowroot at a time stirring to incorporate after each addition.
Ingredients for Almond Flour Dumplings (adapted from Elana’s Pantry)
4 Pastured Eggs
1 ½ Cups blanched almond flour, sifted
½ Cup Tapioca Starch or Arrowroot Starch
2 teaspoons Celtic Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 Tablespoon Parsley Flakes
In a medium bowl beat eggs until just foamy (I use my electric hand mixer).
Add remaining ingredients and beat on low until well combined.
Place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.
When the dough has chilled bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and form into Tablespoon sized balls. (I use a cookie scoop for this step).
NOTE: If you are rolling the dough by hand it will be sticky. To prevent having more dough on your hands than the pot, rub a little olive oil on your hands.
Gently place the dumplings into the boiling water.
Reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered for 25 to 30 minutes.
(The dumplings will float to the top when they are cooked).
Plate the dumplings and ladle the chicken stew on top, serve and wait for compliments.