A few weekends ago, the skies opened up over the Pacific Northwest, dumping buckets of rain. From the shelter of our car parked down at the beach, we could see the blue-grey rainclouds coming up the inlet a good half mile before they got to us. And then the downpour swept overhead and washed over us, the wind and the rain blurring the view from our little haven into an impressionist’s sea scene. Perfect weather for chicken and dumplings, as the rain beats down on your cozy little tin-roofed cabin.
Make the Stew Crisp the bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Put 1/4 cup flour in a shallow bowl. Season the chicken legs with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour. Cook the chicken in batches, skin side down, in the bacon pot per medium heat until deep golden brown and crisp (don’t turn), 12-15 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Cook the 1 1/2 lbs mushrooms in the same pot, working in batches and seasoning with salt and pepper, stirring occasionally until brown – 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add the chopped onion and 6 crushed garlic cloves to the pot, cooking until the onion is soft and translucent – another 5 to 8 minutes.
Add wine to the pot, simmer until it’s reduced, and then add the chicken, bacon, 6 sprigs thyme, 2 bay leaves and 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the chicken is falling off the bone – about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Skim occasionally. Then add the mushrooms and simmer for about 15 minutes, melding the flavors. Season with salt and pepper.
Make the Dumplings Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Whisk together 3/4 tsp kosher salt, 1 cup flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Then whisk in two eggs and 1/4 cup whole milk. The batter will be slightly lumpy. Turn the heat down to a strong simmer and drop teaspoonfuls of batter in the water. Cook until the dumplings double in size – about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and addd to the stew just before serving.
You can make the stew (minus the dumplings) 3 days ahead.
- Chicken Stew
- 6 oz slab bacon, cut into 1/4″ pices
- 1/4 cup flour
- 4 chicken legs (drumsticks & thighs) about 2 lbs
- 1 1/2 lb mixed mushrooms
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp fresh black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup whole milk