Sage and Thyme Chicken Stew with Cornbread Dumplings

Sage and Thyme Chicken Stew with Cornbread Dumplings
Sage and Thyme Chicken Stew with Cornbread Dumplings
The winter weather is making me crave even more comfort food meals. The winds have been particularly howling the past few Days here on the Avalon and I think they've blown a chill through my bones. Just the sound of high winds has always made me shiver, so this quick chicken and dumplings recipe was a welcome meal.

Now I say chicken and dumplings but of course that Southern staple dish is not a traditional dish here in Newfoundland. I never had chicken stew growing up but we did always have "dough boys", our version of dumplings, cooked in simmering pots of soup or stew. Of course, many Southerners know a type of flour and water noodle as dumplings rather than the baking powder raised type I've used here, so it depends on where you hail from down there. I like both but decided a cornbread version would be great in this hearty recipe.

Some fresh herbs were on sale at the market and provided additional inspiration for the herbed gravy in this stew. Their fresh fragrance really reminded me of the promise of the coming Spring when I will again be able to pluck them fresh from a small herb garden near the kitchen door. Spring is still coming right? We had snow quite early this year so it sure will be welcome after what seems one of the longest winters I can ever remember.

Sage and Thyme Chicken Stew with Cornbread Dumplings

Recipe by Barry C. Parsons

A delicious, easy stick-to-your-ribs comfort food meal in about 2 hours.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

  • 2 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch salt and pepper to season
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 large white onion
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock ( 5 cups in total will be needed)
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 cup corn kernals, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup peas, fresh or frozen
  • 4 rounded tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Cornbread Dumplings
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup cold butter
  • 2/3 cup milk
Cooking Directions
  1. Over medium high heat add the olive oil to the bottom of a heavy bottom dutch oven. Add the chicken to the heated oil, season with salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes, tossing often until the chicken has browned. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside. 
  2. To the hot pot add the garlic, onions and celery and saute until the onions soften. Return the chicken to the pot and add the sage and thyme. Add 2 cups of the chicken stock. The stock should be boiling hot to speed up the cooking time of this recipe. Stir together, cover and place in a 350 degree oven for about an hour.
  3. After an hour add the carrots, corn and peas along with the remaining 3 cups of hot chicken stock. Bring to the boil on the stove top and slowly add a thickening slurry made by whisking together the flour and water until no lumps are left; stir constantly as you add the slurry to stew. Drop the cornbread dumpling batter in large rounded tablespoonfuls into the stew and return to the oven for a half hour before serving.
  4. To make the cornbread dumplings, sift together the flour, cornmeal, sugar and baking powder. With a pastry blender or pulsing in a food processor, cut the butter into the flour until small pieces are still visible. Quickly stir in the milk with a wooden spoon until a thick batter forms. 
Sage and Thyme Chicken Stew with Cornbread Dumplings
Sage and Thyme Chicken Stew with Cornbread Dumplings

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