Chicken & Dumplings

April 8, 2013


“Chicken & Dumplings” I heard my husband say the other supposedly Spring day as we were walking our dog through a chilling rain/snowy sleet shower. “I’d really like to have some Chicken & Dumplings sometime soon.” I’m sure it was the lovely weather at the time that inspired him to think of that comforting down-home, southern dish. However, I know he would eat a big old bowl of Chicken & Dumplings any time of the year, regardless of the temperature. In fact, I may have even seen him set the car up on two wheels in an effort to make a quick turn into the parking lot of a country church or Fire Hall which was sporting a sign offering up a fund-raising Chicken & Dumpling dinner. He is that much of a fan and the more rustic the Chicken & Dumplings are the better.


Now I’ve tried quite a few recipes for this classic dish in the past. Some old-fashioned, “just like your momma made it” and some new fangled and “quick for the working woman” varieties. I even made a very tasty TexMex Chicken & Dumplings last year that packed quite a spicy punch. But what he wanted this time was just plain and simple, creamy and comforting Chicken & Dumplings. Luckily I had just seen a recipe from Crumbs and Tales for Chicken & Dumplings that I was excited to try out. The fun thing about this particular recipe is that it used leeks rather than the usual celery. I’ve already told you how much my husband loves leeks, so I knew this ingredient twist would be warmly welcomed. Other than the addition of leeks, this recipe is pretty straight forward old-fashioned and yields up a wonderfully creamy, hearty and comforting version, right down to its fluffy cornmeal dumplings. One bite and my husband said “Mmm…this is really good darlin” and I think I may have even seen the glint of a few tears of joy in his eyes as he went back for seconds. No doubt we will be seeing quite a bit of this particular version of Chicken & Dumplings in the future. Make some for yourself today!


Chicken & Dumplings

recipe from: Crumbs and Tales

Yield: 4-6 servings


For the Chicken Stew:

  • 3 lbs  bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (thighs and legs are the most tender)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2  leeks (light green and white parts only)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • 5 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups (1250 ml) unsalted chicken broth (or water)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk (or 2%)
  • 1 cup frozen green peas

For the Dumplings:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, minced


Prepare the chicken stew:  Slice the leeks length-wise and then dice into pieces. Dice the onions and carrots. Wash the chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towels. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wide pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half of the chicken pieces and par-fry the chicken until golden and crisp on both sides (about 4 minutes on each side). Transfer the chicken to a plate and remove the crisped skin. Add the other tablespoon of oil to the pot and crisp the remaining pieces of chicken and set aside.

In the same pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Mince the garlic, add to the pot and toast lightly for a few seconds. Add the diced carrot, leeks and onion, thyme and 1 teaspoon salt. Sweat the vegetables for about 5 minutes until they are softened. Stir in the flour until the vegetables are coated. Add 1/2 a cup of the chicken stock to create a thick mixture. Add the remaining 4 1/2 cups of stock to the pot along with the milk.  Arrange the chicken pieces in the bottom of the pot. Cover and simmer for about 40-50 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked.

Remove the chicken from the pot and place on a cutting board. Remove the meat from the bones and shred the chicken. Discard the bones. Return the shredded chicken to the pot.

Prepare the dumplings: Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add the butter (the mixture will be crumbly). Add the buttermilk to the flour mixture until incorporated. Mix in the parsley. Set aside for a few minutes — the baking powder will begin to activate the batter causing it to puff up.

Return the stew to a simmer and stir in the peas. Drop the dumpling dough by tablespoons on top of the stew. You should get about 16 dumplings in total. Leave a little bit of room around each dumpling to allow the dumplings to puff up and expand as they steam.  Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook the dumplings for about 15 minutes until the dumplings have doubled in size. Serve immediately as the dumplings will begin to sop up the juices of the stew. To save time, the stew can be made ahead of time and refrigerated but make the dumpling batter right before you intend to use it and bring the mixture up to a simmer before dropping the dumplings in. For leftovers: If, after refrigerating the stew, the dumplings have absorbed most of the moisture, simply add a little water (and salt if necessary) to the mixture to loosen it up before re-heating.


Tex-Mex Sloppy Joes

January 31, 2013


Good ole Sloppy Joes. I’m sure all of the Americans reading this have fond childhood memories of this dish. For those of you unfamiliar with this American kid-friendly classic, it was originally invented by a cook named Joe in a Sioux City Iowa cafe. It is essentially a “loose meat” sandwich which consists of browned ground beef (mince) onions, spices and tomato sauce served on a hamburger bun. I swear, my elementary school cafeteria served them every single week. Unfortunately, I do not have fond memories of Sloppy Joes since some cook in my school thought it would be great to put beans into the mix. Beans?! Bleck! At least that is what 6-year-old me would have said. It totally ruined the whole Sloppy Joe experience for me. There was no picking around the beans. I mean, I ask you, who in the world would want to put beans in a Sloppy Joe! At that point, it became a peanut butter & jelly day without a doubt! The good news is that I think my discovery of these Tex-Mex Sloppy Joes has taken some of the tarnish off of my childhood Sloppy Joe trauma. Rather than the regular ground beef, these Joes use ground pork and have really kicked up the spice factor with the addition of  chipotle chilis, chorizo sausage, green chilis and cilantro into the mix. I served the spicy meat mixture up on my home-made Jalapeño Cheddar Rolls and topped it with a big old dollop of guacamole, crumbled mexican cheese and freshly chopped cilantro. Notice there is not a bean in sight! Comfort food perfection! I have completely revised my opinion of Sloppy Joes at this point. They can be utterly delicious! Revamp your childhood memories and serve up a batch of these bad boys up soon!


Tex-Mex Sloppy Joes

Recipe Adapted from: Smells like Home

Yield: 15-16 servings (depending on the size of hamburger bun you serve)


  • 1 (14.5 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 2 chipotle chiles en adobo (or 1/4 tsp chipotle powder)
  • 2 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb. chorizo sausage, removed from casings
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 oz beer, such as a light ale or lager
  • 1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chili’s
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • hamburger buns, guacamole, chopped cilantro, mexican cheese, diced red onions to serve


Brown ground pork and chorizo sausage in large skillet. Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of the fat. Set meat aside.

Saute the onion and garlic in reserved fat until onions are tender. Set aside.

Place tomato sauce, chipotle chilis, spices, and Worcestershire sauce in food processor and pulse until smooth.

Put browned meats, onion and garlic mixture, and tomato sauce mixture in slow cooker. Add beer, chopped green chilis, cilantro and lime juice. Stir to combine. (if you don’t have  slow cooker, just keep in on the stove top)

Cook in slow cooker set on medium high for 25 minutes and then keep warm until ready to serve.

Just prior to serving add salt and black pepper to taste.

Serve on hamburger buns (see my recipe for Jalapeño Cheddar rolls), with guacamole, cheese and more cilantro for toppings.


Irish Beer & Cheese Chicken Pot Pies

March 15, 2012

Two more days til St. Patrick’s Day ya’ll! Today I have a fabulous recipe for you that will definitely make it into a higher rotation on your menu playlist than just a St. Patrick’s Day hit. So here you have it, one of the great comfort food staples made even more scrumptious with the addition of Smithwick’s Irish Ale and Kerrygold Cheddar cheese. That’s right, Irish Beer & Cheese Chicken Pot Pies! Yum, yum and triple yum!

These pot pies have all the most tasty ingredients in them. I’ve already mentioned the beer and cheese, so I imagine I have quite a few of you there. However, these pies also have bacon, leeks, mushrooms and did I mention there was some Vodka thrown into the crust for good measure. Hooo-wee! That is a whole lot of yumminess in one little ole dish!

I baked a few of mine in individual mini pie tins, which I found at Crate & Barrel,

and a few in ramekins topped with that delicious buttery and flaky pie crust.

The ramekins version are easier to pull off and my husband like these best because they held a larger amount of that savoury filling. Being a sucker for all things bread and crust, I loved the individual mini pie version, which I think looks absolutely adorable.  Of course both versions were equally delicious. My husband loves a good pot pie, so I’ve tried quite a few recipes. This one is at the top of his list! Give your St. Patrick’s Day revellers one of these Irish Beer & Cheese Chicken Pot Pies so that they can keep up their strength for all of the celebrations they have planned!

Irish Beer & Cheese Chicken Pot Pies

recipe slightly adapted from: The Beeroness


For the crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tablespoons sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons butter cold, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 2 Tablespoons vodka
  • 2 Tablespoons cold water

For the filling:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup sliced leeks (white and very light green portion only)
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 strips of bacon, chopped
  • 3 cups mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 cups raw chicken, cut into cubes (or the breast of one rotisserie chicken)
  • 2/3 cup chicken broth
  •  1 1/3 cup Smithwick’s Irish Ale
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ cup corn kernels
  • ½ cup peas
  • 2 cups shredded Kerrygold cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ¼ cup melted butter


Combine 1 cups of flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor, pulse a few times until its combined. Add the butter and the shortening and process until it forms a ball around the blade, about 2 minutes.

Add the remaining flour and process until well incorporated, about 1 minute.

Move to a bowl and add the water and the vodka, combine with a spatula or wooden spoon or merely knead it with your hands.

Form the dough into a disk. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and chill until very firm, about two hours.

Preheat oven to 400° F.

In a pan over medium, high heat, add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the leeks and the garlic, sauté until leeks are soft.

Add the bacon and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and cook until soft and darkened.

Add the chicken and sauté until cooked through, about 5 minutes. I have also used the breast of a rotisserie chicken instead of raw chicken. If you would rather do this, add the shredded rotisserie chicken in after you have added the beer.

In a separate bowl, add 2/3 cup of broth and the flour, stir until combined. Pour mixture into the pan through a small mesh strainer to remove any lumps.

Add the beer to the pan and stir to combine. (if using rotisserie chicken, add it in at this point) Add the peas, corn, cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until the cheese has melted and is well combined with the broth.

At this point you must decide whether you are using the mini pie tins or ramekins.

If you are using the mini pie tins:

 Roll out your crust dough. Cut the bottom crusts and line the pie tin with them. Fill with chicken filling. Cut your pie lid out, slightly smaller than the bottom crust. Lay it over top of the filled crust and crimp the edges of the bottom and top crusts together. Cut a couple vent holes in the top crust.

If you are using ramekins:

Roll out your crust dough. Cut out the lids for your pies, slightly larger (about 1″) than the ramekins you are using. Pour chicken mixture into small, portion sized, oven safe ceramic dishes. Grease around the top edge of the dish with butter. Drape the crust lid over the top of the ramekins. Cut a couple of vent holes in the top crust.

Brush the top of the pot pies with an egg wash or melted butter. Bake at 400°F for  20-25 minutes until golden brown. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.


Spicy Chorizo & Cheese Empanadas with Avocado Cream

September 22, 2011

Let me just start off by saying “Dios Mio” these empanadas were fan-freakin-tastic! I am totally serious! I had never attempted to make empanadas before, but was definitely interested in them. They are essentially latino meat pies. I LOVE meat pies, no matter what country they spring from, be they Cornish pastys, bridies, peirogis, pot pies or calzones. All awesome and all grab my undivided attention the second they make their appearance! So it is no surprize that when I saw the recipe for Chorizo Empanadas over at Handle the Heat, I could not resist. I had always assumed that these delicious little pastries originated in Mexico/Central/South America. However, apparently empanadas trace their origins to Spain and Portugal. From there they were carried to Latin America and the Philippines by the Spanish and Portuguese colonists. Once introduced, each country added their own special regional flavours to the dish. Baked or fried, they are, ladies and gentlemen, the perfect comfort food. They are a bit time-consuming to prepare, however you can make the dough and filling up to two days ahead of time and leave the actual assembly of the empanadas for the day you plan to serve them. Then, while they are baking, you can just whip up the avocado cream sauce. Easy peasy!

These particular empanadas are baked. The crust is just a buttery perfection, the filling spicy and cheesy and loaded with good, old spuds! (Another big favourite of mine – no matter how they’re prepared.) They were unbelievably yummy right out of the oven and were also just as good – if not better – reheated a couple of days later. Though to be honest, I don’t know how they made it that long around here because they really were stunning. And if they weren’t good enough on their own (and they were) the avocado cream will put you right over the moon! Your really have to make this dish!

Oh and the other simply wonderful thing about this recipe is that I had quite a bit of that mouth-watering filling left over. You might think, “Hmmm. Well I’ll just cut the amounts in half.” No! Don’t do it!!! Make every bit of the filling as the recipe calls for, because it tastes great and you will be able to feast on it in other dishes you’ll prepare later that week. For instance, we made a Spicy Chorizo & Cheese Frittata:

Spicy Chorizo Frittata

As well as a very adventurous Cilantro Pesto Pizza topped with the Spicy Chorizo & Cheese filling.

Spicy Cilantro & Chorizo Pizza

I really must say, that pizza was really delightful. And yes….spuds do go great on a pizza! Who’d of thunk it? So don’t delay, get to making some empanadas today!

Spicy Chorizo & Cheese Empanadas with Avocado Cream

recipe very slightly adapted (I merely added some cheese) from Handle the Heat

yields: 20 empanadas



  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • pinch paprika


  • 1 pound Mexican chorizo, casings removed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 2-3 medium Yukon gold potatoes (or other waxy potatoes), peeled, finely diced, and boiled
  • 1 cup mexican blend shredded cheese

Avocado cream:

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 avocados
  • kosher salt


For the dough:
Heat water and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until butter has melted. Let cool slightly. Mix flour, salt, and paprika in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Pour melted butter mixture into flour mixture and mix with your hands until you get a wet, oily dough. Shape dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
For the filling:
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add chorizo, breaking apart into small pieces, then add onion. Saute until chorizo is cooked through. Turn off heat, add diced and boiled potatoes, and let cool completely.
To assemble:
While the filling is cooling, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick spray or line with parchment. Tear off pieces of dough to roll about 20 golf-sized balls. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough balls on a lightly floured surface into 5″ circles. Place 2-3 tablespoons of cooled filling into the center of each dough circle. Sprinkle shredded cheese over the filling. Fold dough over filling and cheese to make a half-moon shape and press edges firmly to seal. Crimp with the back of a fork. Place empanadas on baking sheet and bake until golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Let cool.
For avocado cream:
While the empanadas cool, place sour cream, half and half, lemon juice, and jalapeno in the bowl of a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Peel, pit, and dice the avocado and add to blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Season with salt. If not serving immediately, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, pressing plastic onto the surface of avocado cream to prevent browning.

Chicken Potpie

April 15, 2011

My husband LOVES Chicken Potpie. I don’t know many folks that don’t. This nostalgic dish can truly warm body and soul on a damp, rainy day. A hearty, delicious, tried and true comfort food. With the dreaded “tax day” coming up (not today, April 15th, but Monday April 18th this year due to the extension) there are probably more than a few out there who might need some comfort! This recipe is mouth-watering, very easy to make and will go a long way towards soothing your frayed and frazzled nerves. You begin by preparing the buttery, flaky pastry dough, guaranteed to bake to a beautiful golden brown. You saute the veggies.

veggies cooking

Once done, you add them, along with the shredded chicken to a savory, thick gravy. After the potpie filling has cooled for about an hour, you simply assemble the pies and pop them into the oven. I made several different portion sizes. The version pictured above was baked in a large popover pan and is a good lunch sized portion. I baked some in 7 oz. ramekins for the petite appetites,

Petite Pies

as well as some in large 22 oz.-“hungry man” sized ramekins.

The Hungry Man!

Believe me, once you bite into one of these deliciously gratifying pies, you will feel your mood lift and will swear the skies actually brighten! Get creative and make some of these today. Your family will go wild!

Mmmmm! How can you resist?!

Chicken Potpie


6 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 pound, quartered Button Mushrooms

1 Cup chopped Leeks, white and pale green parts

1/2 Cup Carrots, finely diced

1/3 Cup fresh or thawed frozen peas

1/3 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon All-purpose flour

4 1/2 Cups Chicken stock or broth

1/3 Cup Dry Sherry

2 teaspoons fresh Tarragon, minced

4 Cups cooked, shredded Chicken (rotisserie chicken works great!?

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Double-Crust flaky pastry dough (see below for recipe)

1 Large egg

Ingredients for Double-Crust Pastry Dough:

2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup plus 5 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, chilled

1/2 Cup Ice Water

Directions for the Pastry Dough:

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Cut the butter into chucks and scatter over the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture just until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of peas. ( I actually do this in the food processor. It takes about 5-6 pulses to get the flour butter mixture to have that coarse meal appearance.)

Drizzle the ice water over the flour mixture 1 tablespoon at a time and either mix with a fork or pulse your food processor after each addition. The dough should be crumbly and will not hold together on its own but will when gathered into a ball and compressed with your hands. If it is too dry, add a bit more ice water. Again 1 Tablespoon at a time.

Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Can be made ahead and frozen for up to 2 months.

Now you are ready to begin making the Chicken Potpie filling.

Directions for Chicken Potpie:

In a large frying pan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, about 6 minutes. Stir in the leeks and carrots, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the peas.

In a large saucepan, melt the remaining 5 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and let bubble gently for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the stock and sherry and then the tarragon. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Stir in the shredded chicken and the mushroom-leek mixture and season with salt and pepper. Let cool until lukewarm, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spoon the chicken mixture into six 1 1/2 cup ovenproof soup crocks or ramekins. Or if you’d like to make the smaller popover shaped chicken potpies as pictured above, lightly grease the individual wells of a large popover pan. Line each well with pastry dough making sure there are no holes in the pastry lining and that it is snug against the walls of the well. Work the pastry so that it comes up just over the edge of the well so that you can easily attach a lid. Cut your lids out to be slightly larger than the diameter of the popover well. Poke a couple of holes is the lid so that steam can escape during baking. Fill the pastry lined wells with the Chicken Potpie mixture. Brush the underside of the lid with the egg wash. Place lid on the top of the individual pie and crimp around the edges. Brush the top of each pie with the egg wash.

If you are using ramekins, after you have filled them, place the pastry dough on a lightly floured work surface and dust the top with flour. (If the dough is chilled hard, let it stand at room temperature for a few minutes until it begins to soften before rolling it out.) Roll it out into a rectangle about 20 x 13 inches and 1/8 inch thick. Using a 6-inch saucer as a template, use a knife to cup out 6 rounds. Beat the egg with a pinch of salt. Lightly brush each round with the egg. Place 1 round, egg side down, over each ramekin, keeping the pastry taut and pressing it around the ramekin edges to adhere. Place the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Lightly brush the tops with the egg. Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 25 minutes. If you are making the popover sized pies, you will likely be able to reduce your cooking time to 15 minutes. Transfer each ramekin or popover to a dinner plate and serve.

Recipe from Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food by Rick Rodgers

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