Merry Christmas ! Happy New Year ! Got leftovers ? Me, too !
To say that this Christmas celebration has been a bit out of the ordinary is definitely an understatement. Making the traditional Christmas dishes that feed the thousands has not been a high priority, since don't know about you, but Silent Bob and I have been hangin' together - as in by ourselves. ZOOM and social media have subbed in when we need to hang with the kids and that's a good thing during this crazy time.
That being said, I have leftovers that would normally have been eaten by guests and they are making their way into the next couple days. Like these buttermilk mashed potatoes - an Ina Garten recipe (worthy!). Did a beautiful brisket with roasted winter veg for Christmas feast. It was amazing, but half the potatoes remained. So ... they have become the 'dumpling' drops on top of today's chicken stew.
Did a spatcock prep on a chicken roast the day before Christmas Eve. Used chicken breast and wing meat to make today's stew. Potatoes are gone and most of the chicken is gone. Chicken salad tomorrow ?
Is anyone else living like this these days? I spend much of my meal planning time looking for grocery buys that will be 'extended', so I don't have to be in public more than necessary. I guess it's the responsible thing to do, right? Boy, though, don't you feel a bit like cutting loose, ripping the mask off, hugging a stranger, and starting a flash mob of 'Mama Told Me Not to Come' ? Okay, maybe not ... but I do ! I cannot wait until we're all vaccinated and cut loose ! Maybe that flashmob will be 'Footloose' ! Can't you just see it ? Okay, maybe not ... but I can !
So back to this stew. It's easy. It uses up the produce drawer veg that you know needs to be used, so you don't waste it. It has mushrooms that are chunked big enough that they sub in for some of the chicken 'bite' and taste all buttery and earthy in their own right ! It's full of carrots and peas, like any self-respecting chicken stew should be. Plus, it has buttery and rich buttermilk mashed potatoes ensconced atop like carbohydrate meringues. I'm telling you ... it's good, basic comfort food. Yup. That's what we've come down to as 2020, the year of COVID and the dumpster fire called Trump, is ushered out and 2021, the year of hopeful expectation, is ushered in.
Chow down, folks ! It's probably gonna be a bumpy ride and we're going to need as much comfort as we can get !
Chicken Stew with Mashed Potato ‘Dumplings’
2 1/2 c. leftover mashed potatoes with a splash of buttermilk to loosen them a bit - set aside
1 large cooked chicken breast, removed from the bone and chopped into bite-size chunk
3 stalks celery with leaves, washed and diced
1 large onion, diced
6-8 large mushrooms, stems removed and cut into large chunks
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
1 c. frozen peas
6 tbsp. butter, divided
a generous 1/4 c. flour
2 1/2 c. chicken broth
1 c. whole milk
1/2 tsp black pepper
a generous pinch poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
Making the Dish:
- Remove the leftover potatoes and the cooked chicken from the fridge and let come to room temp.
- Heat 2 tbsp. of the butter measure in a large non-stick fry pan. Add the celery and onion and cook til they glisten.
- Add 2 tbsp. more of the butter measure and the mushrooms. Let them cook until they begin to get brown at the edges.
- Add the flour, pepper, and poultry seasoning and the last 2 tbsp. of the butter measure and stir to coat the veg with the flour and make a roux of sorts. Cook for a minute or so and then add the chicken broth and milk. Lower heat and thicken the gravy. Cover closely and turn the heat off under the pan.
- In a deep microwave proof bowl place the carrots and about 1/4 c. water. Cover and ‘zap’ to soften the carrots to tender crisp.
- While the carrots cook, prep the chicken meat.
- Drain the carrots and add them and the chicken chunks to the gravy/veg mix.
- Sprinkle the frozen peas over top and cover to let the residual heat thaw the peas.
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Turn the chicken stew into a deep casserole dish. Taste the gravy and add salt, if needed.
- Stir the buttermilk (or whole milk) into the cool mashed potatoes to make a thick spoonable consistency.
- Plop blobs of mashed potato onto the top of the stew. Sprinkle on the black pepper and paprika.
- Place the casserole dish on a rimmed sheet - just in case it bubbles over.
- Place in the upper half of the preheated oven and bake for about 35 minutes - uncovered, until the stew is bubbly and the potatoes are golden and crisped. Keep an eye on the taters.
- Remove when done and let the stew sit for a few minutes before serving.