Friday, November 07, 2008

Chicken with Cornmeal Dumplings (Page 373)


  • Date: Monday, November 3, 2008 -- 8pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B

I wanted to do some real cooking this past week (rather than the 15 minutes or less cooking from the two weeks before), so I figured the Poultry section would be a good place to start, since I am quite behind on that section. I have been eying this down-home classic for quite a while. It wasn't a particularly quick recipe, but it was simple enough to make. I started with a whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces. I browned the pieces on the stovetop in butter and oil. Once they had a nice brown on them, I arranged the skin side up, sprinkled them with chopped shallots, added white wine, covered, and simmered until the chicken was cooked through. Once the chicken was cooked I removed it from the skillet and put it in a warm oven to hold until the gravy and dumplings were done. I then added stock, enriched with some cream, to the skillet where the chicken had been to make a gravy. I dropped tablespoons of the cornmeal dumpling dough into the gravy and simmered for 20 minutes until the dumplings were cooked. I then spooned the gravy and dumplings over the chicken and served. Overall this dish was excellent, but it had one major flaw -- soggy chicken skin. For some reason The Book is insistent that leaving the skin on the chicken and then cooking it with a moist heat cooking method is a good idea. It's just not. Even in a recipe like this, where the skin is first browned and crisped, it still gets soggy after being cooked in a covered pan with simmering liquid. Chicken skin is only delicious if it is crispy. Otherwise, it just shouldn't be there. Moreover, I couldn't help but wonder: Why leave the meat on the bones at all for a recipe like this? With the leftover chicken pieces, I discarded the skin, shredded the meat, and stirred it into the gravy and dumplings. The dish was vastly superior that way: easier to eat, no gross soggy skin, and delicious! If you added "Remove meat from bones, shred, and stir into gravy" at the end of this recipe, I would give it an A-. As it is, the soggy skin was a major turnoff. All that said, the gravy and dumplings were completely delicious. Yum, yum, yum! And with the shredded meat stirred in it made absolutely amazing leftovers. Get rid of that skin, stir in the meat, and you won't regret it!

Here is the recipe.

Hello from South Bend, Indiana. After a shocking 5 consecutive nights at home, I am on the road again. This weekend my special gentleman is speaking at a conference at Notre Dame. I came along for the ride, and tomorrow while he is conferencing I will drive to Chicago to work with Vigleik for the day. My special gentleman and I are headed back to Bloomington on Sunday so I can teach Monday. After my classes Monday I will drop my special gentleman off at the airport (he is headed to Boston) and continue on to the Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, where I am giving a seminar on Tuesday. Tuesday evening I will drive back to Bloomington so I can teach Wednesday. Then Wednesday afternoon I will drive back to Chicago to do some work there on Thursday. Thursday evening I will drive back to Bloomington so I can teach Friday. Then Friday after my classes I will head to the airport to fly to Boston to throw a baby shower for Rachel with Emilee on Saturday! Then Sunday I fly back to Boston to teach Monday. Whooo... I am going to be exhausted after all that! The mid-week trip to Chicago can get canceled if I am too worn out to do it, but my thesis advisor, who normally lives in Japan, will be in Chicago for a few days, and it would be good to see him if possible. Now I better get some sleep -- being well-rested is key for pulling off a week like the one I have ahead of me!


M and M said...

You are one amazing woman! Whooo weeee, you are busy!

Teena said...

I'm pretty sure "crazy" is the word you are looking for and not "amazing!" :)