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Friday, October 21, 2011

Cookbook Challenge Goes Old School: Chicken Fricasee With Dumplings

Keith's had a rough couple of weeks fighting off a bacterial infection that required taking some heavy-duty meds that mucked up his appetite and tastebuds. Finally through with his antibiotic regimen, he was craving some tasty comfort fare. The Challenge led me to consult a 1982 copy of the Illustrated Good Housekeeping cookbook. This recipe included some throwback black and white illustrations and was described as "once considered a humble meal, this creamy stew is a hearty dish that satisfies everyone". How presumptuous of you, Good Housekeeping....we'll just see about that.

The recipe was fairly easy and in the end the dish was indeed comforting and hearty if indeed a bit bland. I believe that speaks more about me becoming a rabid flavor hound these days than any real issues with the dish. While it may have lacked a little something in the zing department, it was reminiscent of the creamed chicken and biscuits dish of my youth. The Hi-Way Grille in my hometown of St. Marys, WVA was the locale of this childhood favorite, served up in its heyday with a sweet smile from Grace or Rachel or a wisecrack from Shirley. Mom would note how much I enjoyed this dish and not to be outdone, soon whipped up her own version. Bisquick was probably involved as it was in this recipe. Keith said it hit the comfort food spot, so it worked out a-ok. This counts as Cookbook Challenge #55. The recipe follows:


1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 2 1/2 or 3 pound fryer chicken, cut up
3 tablespoons "salad oil" (vegetable oil)
2 medium celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 small onion, sliced
1 10 3/4 can of condensed cream of chicken soup
Milk
1 cup buttermilk baking mix

1. On waxed paper, combine flour, salt, paprika and pepper; coat chicken with flour mixture.
2. In a skillet over medium-high heat, in hot salad oil, cook chicken until browned. Set aside.
3. In drippings remaining in skillet, over medium heat, cook celery, carrots and onion until tender, stirring occasionally.
4. Return chicken to skillet; stir in undiluted soup and 1 1/2 cups of milk; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 25 minutes.
5. In small bowl with fork, stir buttermilk baking mix and 1/3 cup of milk just until blended. (Dough is soft.)
6. Drop dough in heaping tablespoons into simmering liquid. Cover; cook 10 minutes until dumplings are set.

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