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Chicken Fricassee with Cheese-Herb Dumplings

5 pounds chicken, split and jointed
ground nutmeg
white pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup dry white wine
2 large shallots, cut in slivers
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 leeks, cut in 1/2" pieces
4 carrots, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 cup celery, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon chervil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp paprika

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon chervil
1/3 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2/3 cup milk

Sprinkle chicken on both sides with seasonings. Heat oil in heavy
pot and brown chicken in batches. Set aside. Reduce heat and add
flour, scraping up browned bits with spoon. Cook the roux until it
colors to a light brown, mashing lumps. Be careful not to burn.
Whisk in 3 cups water and the wine and return chicken to pot. Simmer
45 minutes to 1 hour, covered. In Dutch oven, saute vegetables in
butter until softened. Strain chicken stock through a colander,
add to vegetables, and continue simmering. Skim fat as it rises.
Stir in seasonings.

Meanwhile, cool chicken in a colander over a bowl and prepare the
dumplings. Remove meat from bones and add to Dutch oven, along
with any drippings. Spoon in dumplings, cover and cook for 15
minutes, keeping stew at a slow boil. Cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes

Stir flour, salt, baking powder and chervil together. Stir in
cheese. Mix egg, butter and milk together and stir into flour
mixture to make a moist, stiff batter. Using 2 teaspoons, drop
dumplings over bubbling stew. Cover and cook for 15 minutes,
keeping stew at a slow boil. Cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes longer.

Variation: Dumplings may be adapted for beef stew by substituting
rosemary and thyme for chervil and omitting the cheese.


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