What do you cook when you want a chicken pot pie but are too lazy/busy to screw around with making a crust? You cook chicken with dumplings. I saw this recipe on Michael Ruhlman’s site and figured it would give me a chance to practice my pâte à choux technique and put together a reasonably quick dinner. That the dish is also one of She Who Must Be Obeyed’s favorites was just extra win.
I started with two carrots and two celery stalks cut into large dice, a diced medium onion, two cups of cooked chicken, a third of a cup of flour, and three tablespoons of butter.
I melted the butter over medium heat, then added the onions and cooked until they were translucent. I stirred in the flour and continued cooking until I could smell the flour toasting.
I whisked in a quart of homemade chicken stock, brought everything to a simmer, than added the chicken, carrots, celery, a bay leaf, and a teaspoon of salt.
I could have stopped here and had a pretty good soup, but I continued on so as not to hear “What, no dumplings?” later. The dumplings were a simpler variation of the gnocchi à la Parisienne I had made before, leaving out the cheese and mustard. And substituting milk for water. And using four eggs instead of seven. And less butter. Well, sort of the same recipe.
Fifteen minutes later I was piping dumplings into boiling water and pulling then out to drain.
If you look carefully, you can see that this batch was thinner and more uniform than the previous attempt. Between then and now I managed to locate a pastry tip with the correct diameter, which made a huge difference in piping out the dough. I froze half of the batch for future use.
By the time the dumplings were done, the chicken and vegetables had thickened. I added the dumplings and simmered for an additional five minutes before serving.
Soft dumplings, smooth sauce, vegetables still slightly firm – the only thing a pot pie had over this was a crispy element, which I remedied by serving a few slices of homemade bread. It was the perfect dish to eat while watching the snow fall. And now that I have extra dumplings in the freezer, I can make this dish again on a whim.