I am (no exaggeration) about fifteen entries behind right now so expect many blogs to be popping up in the next couple days!
I decided to make a special meal for mom and Josh to eat when they got home from the airport. While browsing TJOC, I spotted Chicken or turkey fricassee (p. 432), which looked very promising. I was intrigued by the following recipe, chicken and dumplings, which is apparently chicken fricassee with dumplings (I like chicken and dumplings but very rarely eat it). I suspect chicken and dumplings to be an American thing--is that true? It just seems like it would be :)
I needed about four pounds of chicken so I broke down a whole chicken into it's parts--which is considerably cheaper than buying the bird already cut up. I recommend using your kitchen shears to do this--it seems way easier than a knife (except maybe a cleaver). I'm not near as good at this as I should be but the results were passable. The chicken was then supposed to be browned in a skillet in batches to reduce crowding.
No problem, I thought.
As I continued to read the recipe I noticed that I would eventually need to have the entire chicken, plus all the vegetables and sauce, in the skillet.
Uh oh--the skillet I was using was not even close to big enough. I had to haul out another pan. A considerably bigger pan.
The next step was to saute onions in the rendered chicken fat. After the onions are browned, a quarter cup of flour was added in and the mixture was cooked for a minute--WATCH THE PAN! Otherwise, you can look forward to burning the flour and starting this part over (not that I have any experience with that or anything...).
Chicken stock was whisked in.
Next, mushrooms, carrots, celery, thyme, salt, and pepper were added. The chicken was returned to the pan. At this point, I thought the results looked bizarre.
Does that picture look right? Of course not. In fact, it looks like chicken mixed in glue. I went back to the recipe--I hadn't used NEAR enough chicken stock. I had read the recipe wrong, by about one cup of liquid. I decided that I might as well keep going and just poured the missing chicken stock into the pan.
The pan was covered and the concoction was cooked until done (be sure to use your meat thermometer! Nothing is worse than undercooked chicken).
It smelled great! And even looked okay on my hideous plates (the wedding can't get here soon enough--I can't wait to have new plates!).
So how was it? Delicious! The chicken was tender and the sauce was flavorful--delicious to dip bread in. In fact, I ate about a half loaf of bread by sopping up the juices from this meal. It heated up amazingly. Next time I make this (and I probably will make it again) I will pay more attention to the recipe, although it didn't seem to make much of a difference.