Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Six Days of Comfort Food: Day One

Chicken and Dumplings.

A few days ago, amidst the trauma of class-mate farewells, my friend Emily emailed me and suggested we make this recipe from Pioneer Woman. I, sitting hungry at my computer and wearing multiple sweaters to keep warm, decided this was the most brilliant idea I'd ever heard.

Because she's Emily, this recipe involved:

Going to the farmer's market in the morning and purchasing a whole chicken, which she proceeded to butcher herself (First time! Skills!) and used the feet to make stock.

Next, we went ice-skating with friends, because things always taste better when preceded by some sort of chilly, wintery activity. If the option's available to you, cross-country skiing is also highly effective for maximizing the enjoyment of comfort food.

Post-skating we donned comfy pants, mixed up Ginger-Whiskey cocktails, and began browning the chicken. Emily looked after the bird while I chopped vegetables and made the dumpling dough (which is stupidly easy, by the way).

Once everything had been chopped, browned, stirred, shredded, dropped, steamed and simmered, we dished up the first (of several) helpings to share with our friends Carey and Yui. It was comfort food at its finest, and the nicest way to spend a frosty Friday evening.

If you're not feeling quite as ambitious as Emily, you could easily skip the butchering and buy pre-cut chicken pieces and broth, or just make the dumplings to drop into any favourite soup or stew. We also used apple juice instead of apple cider, and sprinkled each bowl with some freshly chopped Italian parsley.

This is a great recipe to make as a pair, with one person tending to the chicken while the other prepares the rest. Then make it even better by sharing with friends! Day One of The Six Days of Comfort Food was a comfort indeed.

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