Chicken and Dumplings

I discovered celery root for the first time a year or two ago. Scary-looking thing, isn’t it?

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My first foray into celery root was a chicken soup with root vegetables, including celery root (or celeriac, as it’s sometimes called). I had walked past it so many times in the grocery store, without ever noticing it.

Big mistake. Once you peel it, it looks a lot like a potato, but it holds its shape when cooking. And it’s quite delicious — to me it’s like mixing celery, cauliflower, and butter into one.

Anyway, I had been jonesing for some kind of chicken stew or dumplings when the latest issue of Bon Appetit arrived. Last week, when the threat of the Snowquester — a supposedly massive snowstorm that preemptively shut down DC — this seemed like the perfect option.

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But, my week was just too busy to get to a regular grocery store (Trader Joe’s doesn’t sell celery root) before the non-storm. Instead, I saved it for the weekend.

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For the wine, choose something rich that can stand up to the chicken and vegetables. My personal preference is Chardonnay, aged in steel (rather than the traditional oak, which I don’t usually care for). But that’s just it — a personal preference. At the end of the day, when cooking with wine, choose one you like, and taste regularly while cooking.

Chicken and Dumplings

Adapted from Bon Appetit and Martha Stewart

Serves 6-8

Stew:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
8 medium carrots (about 1 pound), peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 small celery root (about 12 ounces), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, chopped
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine (such as Chardonnay)
1/2 cup water
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons (or more) Sherry or white vinegar

Dumplings:
3/4 cup flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook 8-10 minutes; transfer to a plate.

Carefully drain all but 2 tablespoons fat from pot. Add carrots, celery root, onion, and leek; stir frequently until softened and beginning to brown, 8-10 minutes.

Add butter; stir until melted. Add flour and stir constantly until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add wine and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced by half, 5-8 minutes.

Add chicken, broth, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer until chicken is fork-tender, about 35 minutes. Discard bay leaves and herb sprigs. Transfer chicken to a plate. Let cool slightly; shred meat.

Return shredded chicken to soup. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar. Season with salt, pepper, and more vinegar, if desired. Return to a simmer.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and 1/2 cup milk. It should be just a little thicker than pancake batter and should easily drop from the tip of a spoon. (Add additional 2 tablespoons milk if too thick.)

Drop batter in 8 spoonfuls over simmering stew, keeping them spaced apart. Cover and simmer until dumplings are firm, about 20 minutes. Serve in bowls.

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