For the chicken:

4 pounds chicken parts

1 cup all purpose flour, seasoned with salt and pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

6 leeks (white and pale green parts only), sliced thin crosswise and washed thoroughly (about 2 cups)

6 shallots, sliced thin (about 1 cup)

6 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced

2 celery ribs with leaves, sliced

1 small bay leaf

½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crumbled

3-½ cups low-salt chicken broth

½ cup apple cider or juice

For the dumplings:

1-½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup yellow cornmeal

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

2 tablespoons minced fresh dill

1 cup well shaken buttermilk, more if needed ,  at room temperature

1 cup green peas, defrosted if frozen

  1. Dredge the chicken parts in seasoned flour, shaking off excess, and put on a rack.
  1. In a large heavy kettle melt butter with oil over moderately high heat until foam subsides and brown chicken in batches (do not crowd), transferring it to a plate as done, about 5 minutes on each side.
  1. Stir in leeks and shallots and cook 3 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan and stirring occasionally. Stir in the carrots, celery, bay leaf and thyme and cook 3 minutes.  Stir in broth, cider and chicken and bring liquid to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered partially, until chicken is cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes (if you add more pieces of chicken, or if your chicken pieces are large, increase braising time).
  1. Make dumplings while chicken is cooking: Into a bowl sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir in dill.  Stir in the butter, and add enough buttermilk (usually 1 cup) to form a soft, sticky dough that’s slightly wetter than a biscuit dough.
  1. Drop 8 large dollops of batter on top of mixture using 2 spoons, spacing them evenly. Cover, reduce heat to medium.  Simmer chicken and dumplings, covered, 10 minutes.  Sprinkle in peas, cover and cook until dumplings are done, about 5 minutes more.  (Dumplings are done when a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.)  Discard the bay leaf.


adapted from The Best of Gourmet, 1995



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