|Fried Chicken Stew with Corn Flour Dumplings|
Spouse will not hesitate to tell you that I'm no chronic house cleaner but I do insist on having a safe, sanitized kitchen. My insistence comes from having worked in a couple of downtown restaurants in my twenties, where I learned a lot about food safety and proper handling and storage of food. I still wipe down all surfaces before preparing foods, maintain separate cutting boards for meat and produce, use a meat thermometer to ensure safe cooking temperature, store meats on the bottom shelf in their plastic shopping bags and make sure the fridge temperature is below 4 degrees C.
I've also always been a dedicated hand washer in the kitchen. I always wash my hands well before starting to cook and several times when preparing any meal, especially after handing raw meat. Recently, just as we were planning a kitchen facelift with new paint colors and appliances, I was asked by Delta to test and honestly review their TOUCH2O kitchen faucet. I'd seen the commercials many times on the Food Network and was definitely intrigued by how they worked.
When your hands are messy, the faucet can be turned on and off again by simply touching anywhere on the faucet or handle with the back of your wrist, forearm or elbow. Not only a terrific convenience, this feature is enormously helpful in preventing cross contamination of foods you are preparing.
The faucet is high quality and very well made. The touch technology is battery operated which means there is no need for a hard wired electrical connection. It has worked flawlessly since we had it installed and it also has other great features like a retractable hose connected to the head which can act as a sprayer when rinsing dishes or cleaning the sink. My previous faucet had separate hot and cold faucet handles which leaves a third opening next to the faucet but no worries, Delta cleverly solved that problem with a built in soap dispenser. The styling and finish are beautiful too and I think it looks just great in my kitchen. We've been using the faucet for several weeks now and I have to say I'm very happy with it indeed.For more information on Delta faucets, please visit the Delta website.
Our new TOUCH2O faucet came in particularly handy when I was de-boning an entire chicken to make one of our families favorite comfort food meals, Fried Chicken Stew. This is a sort of deconstructed stew that starts with a roasted vegetable oven stew, then adds some delicious boneless, skinless fried chicken pieces and of course, some light, delicious corn flour dumplings for an amazing comfort food meal that our family particularly loves on a chilly autumn or winter evening.
This stew is also one of the first things I ever cooked for Spouse back in the day and still one of her favorite meals. She's still sticking around after 17 years...maybe it's just for the stew? ;)
Cut into medium sized chunks:
- 6 large carrots
- 6 parsnips
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 large onion
Toss the vegetables into a roasting pan along with 4 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to season. Roast in a 400 degree F for about a half hour or until the vegetables are fork tender.
For the fried chicken combine:
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp powered thyme
- 1 tbsp powdered sage
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried marjoram
- 1 tbsp dry mustard powder
- 1 tbsp powdered ginger
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
Mix thoroughly to make sure spices are evenly distributed in the mix.
Heat 2 inches vegetable oil in a deep fryer or deep heavy bottomed pot to 350 degrees F.
Cut 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken pieces into nugget or finger sized pieces. Dip the pieces into an egg wash of 1 egg and 2 tbsp water whisked together. Dredge chicken pieces in the flour and spice mixture and fry in the oil until golden brown, 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Hold in a warm oven.
For the gravy, simmer together until the volume is reduced by about 1/3:
- 6 cups chicken stock (use sodium free or low sodium if using store bought stock)
- 2 tbsp summer savoury or oregano
- ½ tsp ground sage
- ½ tsp ground thyme
Thicken the gravy with a slurry of flour and water; shake together about 6 tbsp flour to ¾ cup water and whisk into the boiling seasoned stock but don’t make the gravy too thick. You may require more or less of the thickening slurry depending upon how much you have reduced the chicken stock. Season the gravy with salt and pepper at this point. Seasoning before this point may result in an over seasoned gravy.
Pour the gravy over the roasted vegetables. Add:
- 1 cup fresh or frozen peas, green beans or okra.
- 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
Stir. Drop dumpling dough on top of the stew and return the roasting pan to the oven for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees F until the dumplings spring back when pressed lightly at the center.
- 2 cups corn flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Pinch salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 3 tbsp melted butter
- 1 cup lukewarm water or milk
Sift together dry ingredients. Add the melted butter and water or milk. Beat with a wooden spoon only until all the liquid is incorporated. Do NOT over mix. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls on top of the stew. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees F or until the dumplings spring back when lightly pressed at the center.
Add the chicken pieces to the stew when serving.