How to make it

  • 1. For the Chicken: Heat deep 11- or 12-inch skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add hacked-up chicken back, neck, and wings, and onion chunks; sauté until onion softens and chicken loses its raw color, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and continue to cook until chicken pieces give up most of their liquid, about 20 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add 6 cups hot water, chicken parts (legs, thighs, and breasts), bay leaves, and 3/4 teaspoon salt, then bring to simmer. Reduce heat; continue to simmer, partially covered, until broth is flavorful and chicken parts are just cooked through, about 20 minutes longer. Remove chicken parts and set aside. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones in 2- to 3-inch chunks. Strain broth, discarding chicken pieces. Skim and reserve fat from broth and set aside 4 cups of broth, reserving extra for another use.
  • 2. Meanwhile, bring 1/2-inch water to simmer in cleaned skillet fitted with steamer basket. Add vegetables; cover and steam until just tender, about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  • 3. For the Dumplings: Mix flour, baking powder, herbs, and salt in medium bowl. Heat butter and milk to simmer and add to dry ingredients. Mix with a fork or knead by hand two to three times until mixture just comes together. Following illustrations below, form dough into desired shape; set aside.
  • 4. Heat butter or reserved chicken fat in cleaned skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour and thyme; cook, whisking constantly, until flour turns golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Continuing to whisk constantly, gradually add sherry or vermouth, then reserved 4 cups chicken stock; simmer until gravy thickens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in optional cream and chicken and vegetables; return to simmer.
  • 5. Lay formed dumplings on surface of chicken mixture; cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through, about 10 minutes for strip dumplings and 15 minutes for balls and biscuit rounds. Gently stir in peas and parsley. Adjust seasonings, including generous amounts of salt and pepper. Ladle portion of meat, sauce, vegetables, and dumplings into soup plates and serve immediately.
  • NOTE: A touch of heavy cream gives the dish a more refined look and rich flavor, but for a weeknight dinner, you may want to omit it. If you are in a hurry, you may poach boneless chicken breasts in low-sodium canned stock, then pull the breast into large pieces, and skip step 1 below.

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