Sunday, January 13, 2008

Cast-iron skillet cooking

Today I pulled out a cookbook I've been meaning to spend some time with for a while now. Someone mentioned chicken and dumplings somewhere -- it might have been on TV, at the cafe, on the radio ... I'm not sure where I heard it, but I knew I needed to make this dish, and fast.

With The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook in hand, I got down to business this evening. Mission: To make an old-fashioned Sunday dinner. I know, a little cheesy, but stay with me here.

First, there was a mound of shallots, onion, celery, mushrooms, and celery to be chopped. I got the prep work done, then threw the chicken into the skillet. Ack, it began to stick! But, an extra drizzle of olive oil seemed to do the trick.

After the chicken browned, it was the vegetable mixture's turn for a dip in the pan, this time with a bit of butter (I didn't say anything about this meal being low fat). Next up: some flour, to thicken things up, a splash of sherry, broth, and plenty of heavy cream (sorry dieters, this is strike two, I know). I added a splash of white wine for good measure, too. Why not?

While this simmered on the stove, it was time to tackle the dumplings, which were actually so easy that even a nonbaker, like me, could pull them off: cornmeal, flour, baking powder, butter, salt, and milk. I also threw in a dash of oregano. The recipe called for rosemary, but I didn't have any and the plant I had growing in the garden bit the dust last summer when I was too busy with my colicky infant to water it. Consequences.

Carson and Jason watched as I topped things off with little mounds of dough and sent the ensemble into the oven for about 20 minutes. I had filled the skillet just about to the brim, so I worried the whole time, that there might be an eruption in the oven. Um, it's not like this has, um, happened before ... I'm just saying ...

Fortunately, we didn't have a natural disaster on our hands. Nope -- we had a winner. What a meal! Satisfying? Yes. Comforting? Oh yeah. Just the thing I was looking for on this wintry Sunday evening. More cast-iron skillet cooking is on tap for 2008, I think.


Melissa said...

I just have to say that this looks DELICIOUS.

Katie said...

my last bout with chicken and dumplings was bland. you've reinspired me to try again. :) and possibly with cast iron.

Mimi said...

Mmmmm... that is one of my favorite meals! It's so labor intensive, in my opinion, but so worth it! Yours turned out so divine!