Chicken and dumplings; Cucumber and sweet onion salad

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Chicken and dumplings
Chicken soup
  • 1 whole 3-to 4- pound chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat
  • 2 small yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth
  • Grated zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped thyme
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped oregano
  • 2 1/2 quarts chicken stock
  • Dumplings
    • 1/2 cup cornmeal
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
    • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and diced
    • 1/2 cup whole milk
    For the chicken

    Cut the chicken into 8 skin-on, bone-in pieces and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Heat half the oil and half the bacon fat in a large pot over medium high heat until smoking.

    Add half the chicken pieces and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove and drain on paper towels. Add the remaining oil and fat and, once smoking, brown the remaining chicken pieces, then drain on paper towels.

    Add the onions, celery, carrots and garlic and saute until the vegetables are barely caramelized and stick slightly to bottom of pan, about 6 minutes.

    Add wine and vermouth, scrape brown bits at the bottom of the pan, then reduce the liquid by half, about 2 minutes.

    Add lemon zest, thyme, rosemary, oregano, stock and chicken to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover.

    Cook until the chicken is very tender, about 1 hour, occasionally skimming fat and impurities as they rise to the surface.

    Remove the chicken from the liquid. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin. Strip the meat from the bones and shred into bite-sized pieces. Return it to the stock in the pot.

    For the dumplings

    Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and butter in bowl of a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand. (This can also be accomplished by hand with a bench scraper or your fingertips.)

    Add half the milk and incorporate quickly. If the dough does not easily come together into a shaggy ball, add small amounts of milk until it does.

    Knead dough on a floured surface until smooth, about 5 minutes. (While you don't want to overknead the dough to stave off toughness, the dumplings will fall apart in the broth if not enough gluten develops.) Let the dough rest for 15 minutes at room temperature.

    Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to a uniform sheet about 7 inches square and 1/4 inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the sheet into approximately 25 two-inch squares. The dumplings can be set aside in the refrigerator for up to an hour before poaching.

    To serve

    Bring the soup to a brisk simmer. Add dumplings carefully to the soup, adding more than one layer if necessary. They will initially sink but begin to expand and rise as they cook. Cover the pot and gently simmer the dumplings until they are tender and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

    Makes 4 to 6 servings.

    -- Adapted from "Come In, We're Closed"



    Cucumber and sweet onion salad

    Sliced red onions, rinsed under cold water, can be substituted if Vidalias or other sweet onions are not available.

    • 4 medium cucumbers
    • 1 large vidalia onion, halved and thinly sliced
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
    • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence

    Peel each cucumber, alternating one strip of skin with one strip of peeled flesh. Cut off and discard the ends and cut the cucumber in half lengthwise.

    Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and thinly slice cucumbers into half moons. Combine the cucumber and onion slices in a plastic bowl with a tight-fitting lid. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

    In a separate bowl, whisk together vinegars, oil, sugar and herbes de Provence. Pour the dressing over cucumbers and onion, season liberally with salt and pepper, mix well and cover.

    Refrigerate for an hour, frequently turning the bowl upside-down to redistribute the dressing.

    Served chilled.

    Makes 6 servings.

    -- Adapted from "Come In, We're Closed"

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