Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Chicken and Dumplings with White Beans

Old-fashioned comfort food at its finest—chicken and dumplings. Here, I added creamy cannellini beans for a little more depth in both taste and texture, but the soul of the dish still comes from tender, fall-off-the-bone chicken and fluffy dumplings floating on top of the broth.

I made the dumplings with eggs and half-and-half because I’ve found those two ingredients make a lighter batter and result in silkier texture. Richer taste too.

And the golden rule of dumplings? They should never be perfectly formed, symmetrical balls. Just drop small globs onto hot liquid and watch them get pretty in whatever shape they take.

Serves 6


For the Chicken
  • 2 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • flour, for dredging
  • 1 whole fryer (about 3 1/2 lbs), cut into 8 pieces
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1 15-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Cut-Up Chicken
For the Dumplings
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half

For the Chicken
  1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until almost crisp and fat is rendered. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Bacon Beginning to Cook
Cooked Bacon

  1. Add the olive oil to the pot.
  2. Spread flour in a large baking dish. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour. Working in 2 batches, add the chicken skin-side down to the pot and cook, without turning, until golden brown, 12-14 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Floured Chicken
Brown the Chicken in Batches 
Browned First Batch
  1. Add the garlic, celery, and onion to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add the wine and cook, scraping up browned bits, 3 minutes. Return the chicken and bacon to the pot and add the bay leaves and 4 cups of broth. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.
Softened Vegetables 
Wine Added
  1. Reduce the heat to low and cook, partially covered, until the chicken is fall-off-the-bone tender, 1-1/2 to 2 hours, depending on the size of the pieces.
Stew Ready to Simmer 
Cooked Stew
  1. Discard bay leaves. Carefully remove the chicken to a plate (be sure all bones are removed as well). When cool enough to handle, pull the chicken meat into pieces, discarding skin and bones.
  2. Return the chicken to the pot and add the remaining 1/2 cup of broth. Stir in the beans and bring to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes.
Chicken Returned to Pot
  1. With the broth simmering, drop teaspoon-sized dollops of dumpling batter (recipe follows) on top. Cook until the dumplings are cooked through and doubled in size, about 5 minutes.
Dumplings Beginning to Cook
Cooked Dumplings
Divide the stew among 6 shallow bowls and serve hot. 

Chicken and Dumplings with White Beans
For the Dumplings
  1. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and half-and-half.
  2. Gradually whisk the egg mixture into the flour mixture to form a slightly lumpy batter.
Flour and Egg Mixtures 
Dumpling Batter

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