Eight Bells

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Crockpot Chicken Casserole with Cornmeal Dumplings

I last ate dumplings when I was six years old. In England in the mid 70s many schools provided lunch for their students, this was both a blessing and a curse. I can still recall the meal, the dumplings floating in a sea of thick bland gravy, grey blobs of gluey dough that stuck to your throat and settled like stones in your stomach.
I was therefore a little unenthusiastic when Julia said that we were having dumplings for dinner. Of course I needn't have worried, the meal was delicious and the light and tasty cornmeal dumplings were a revelation, yes thank you I will have seconds.

You will need a crockpot with a capacity of at least 5 litres for this recipe. Serves six.

Chicken Casserole

1/2 kg of potatoes, scrubbed
1 kg of skinless, boneless chicken breast or thighs cut into 2cm pieces.
2 carrots, quartered and sliced
1 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 x 420g can of cream of chicken soup
1 cup of chicken stock

2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of flour
Salt and pepper

Spray the inside of the crockpot with a little oil (rice bran oil can be bought in spray cans at your supermarket). Cut the potatoes into 1-2cm cubes and place in your crockpot with all the ingredients except the butter, flour and the salt and pepper. Stir to combine the ingredients and turn your crockpot on to low. Cover and cook for 7-8 hours.
About an hour before you want to serve turn the cooker on to high. To thicken the casserole combine the butter and flour to make a beurre manier and stir into the casserole. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Cook for another hour.

Cornmeal Dumplings

3/4 of a cup of flour
1/2 a cup of cornmeal
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 of a teaspoon of salt
25g of butter, melted
1 large egg
1/4 of a cup of milk

Italian flat leafed parsely

About 30 minutes before serving, prepare the dumplings by combining the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In another bowl stir together the melted butter, egg and milk. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and stir just enough to mix.

Drop dessertspoonsful of the mixture over the surface of the casserole, you should have enough mixture for about 8-10 dumplings. Put the lid back on and finish cooking the casserole (another 30 minutes as you put the dumplings in 30 minutes into the final hour of cooking).
Serve in bowls with a little chopped Italian flat leafed parsley for colour.
You can serve these dumplings with any casserole or stew and cook them in the same way.


At 6:49 PM, Blogger Karla said...

awwww Julian I am so going to cook this. Yummmmmm you lucky man I wish I had a wife like Julia


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