It looks like spring has finally arrived in my corner of New York here, at least over the last few days anyway where the temperature has been warmer and all of the snow has finally melted away! I even went to Opening Day at Citi Field yesterday to celebrate the warmer weather and the baseball season coming, so I know that everything is getting better around here. Now if the rest of life could just slow down a bit so I had some more time to do some fun writing, things would be even better! Oh well, it is better to be busy working than not and I’ll just have to learn to fit in blogging where I can and when I have time to do it. That being said, I decided to usher in spring weather for us by making a nice spring stew for dinner the other night. I got this recipe from Calphalon and it is a great one dish meal of spring stew with chicken, asparagus and mushrooms and some herb dumplings to top it off. it is very nourishing and hearty and sure hit the spot and made use of the spring favorite of asparagus along the way.
Spring Stew with Chicken, Asparagus and Mushrooms with Herb Dumplings
For the Stew:
1 whole, boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into 1-inch cubes
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch cubes
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
3-4 carrots, trimmed and peeled, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 3 cups)
1 pound asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into 1-inch lengths on an angle
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 red pepper, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
48 ounces chicken broth
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
For the Dumplings:
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh chives, minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
2 teaspoons vegetable shortening
3/4 cup boiling chicken broth
Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a large shallow bowl. Dredge the cubed chicken pieces in the flour mixture to coat them well. Preheat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat for several minutes. Add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil to the hot pan and allow the oil to heat for about 1 minute. Add the chicken pieces to the pan (in batches if necessary so you do not crowd the pan) and brown the chicken on all sides, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces and set them aside and repeat the process with any remaining chicken.
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil back into the Dutch oven and allow the oil to heat until shimmering. Add the onion, celery and carrots to the pan and saute the vegetables until the onions are translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, asparagus and red pepper to the pan with the other vegetables and continue to cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Return the chicken pieces to the pan along with the chicken broth, sprigs of thyme and the bay leaf. Give the mixture a stir and turn the heat down to medium-low to bring the stew to a simmer. Allow the stew to cook for 30 to 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the dumplings. Combine the cornmeal, four, baking powder, salt, chives, parsley and thyme together in a medium bowl. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture using your fingers until it is incorporated. Add the boiling chicken broth and stir the mixture with a spoon until the mixture is just combined and holds together. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and shape the dumpling dough into a 3/4-inch thick rectangle. Cut the rectangle into approximately 1 1/2-inch squares. Place the squares on a plate and keep them chilled until you are ready to cook them.
After the stew has cooked for 30 to 45 minutes, add the dumplings. Scatter the dumplings over the top of the stew. Cover the pan and cook the stew for an additional 12 to 15 minutes or until the dumplings have a light sheen to them. Ladle the stew into bowls and serve.
This is a delicious stew that makes good use of the chicken and vegetables. I think you could do this with a rotisserie chicken as well and perhaps not coat the chicken in flour, but you would not get as thick of a broth in the end so it depends on what you like the best. The dumplings, to me, were more like polenta dumplings from the cornmeal than an herb dumpling, put they tasted quite nice with the broth, chicken and vegetables and this made a great one pot meal.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!