Friday, May 11, 2012

Foodie Fridays: Chicken Fricassee with Dumplings

From Betty Crocker's Cookbook (1974)

This week I am posting a recipe from the very first cookbook I ever purchased, the 1974 hardcover edition of Betty Crocker's Cookbook.  Selecting a recipe from this book was easier in some ways than last week's choice because I used more recipes from this book, but it was also more difficult because I had to narrow it down to just one!  I finally decided on Chicken Fricassee with Dumplings as it was the very first dish I ever made for others.  I cooked this one for my sister on her birthday, since my mother made a similar version and it was my sister's favorite meal.  One of the gifts I received when I went off to college was an electric skillet, which was a very popular cooking appliance at the time, and this chicken fricassee was the first meal I ever cooked in mine.  It came out perfectly, and gave me the confidence to keep cooking.  I have always preferred baking to cooking, but thanks to Betty Crocker I became a better cook, and I will always be fond of this book!  This is an old-fashioned recipe, and one that few modern cooks seem to make now, but it is much better than the more recent version I found on the internet which calls for Bisquick and canned soup.  Please make the extra effort and try this recipe instead, as it is sure to be healthier as well as tastier than the newer recipe (just use oil or even butter instead of trans fat-filled shortening!).

Chicken Fricassee with Dumplings

4 1/2- to 5-pound stewing chicken, cut up
1 C. flour
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. paprika, if desired
shortening or salad oil
1 C. water
3 T. flour
Dumplings (below)

Wash chicken pieces and pat dry.  Mix 1 C. flour, salt, pepper, and paprika.  Coat chicken with flour mixture.  Heat thin layer of shortening or oil in large skillet; brown chicken on all sides.  Drain off fat and reserve.

To skillet, add water and, if desired, chopped onion, lemon juice, or herbs such as rosemary or thyme leaves.  Cover tightly; cook chicken slowly 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours until fork-tender, adding water if necessary.  Remove chicken to warm platter and keep warm.  Pour off and reserve liquid in skillet.

To make gravy, heat 3 T. reserved fat in skillet.  Blend in 3 T. flour.  Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly.  Remove from heat.  Add enough milk to reserved liquid to make 3 cups; pour into skillet.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir one minute.  Return chicken to gravy.  Drop dumpling dough by spoonfuls onto hot chicken.  Cook uncovered 10 minutes; cover and cook 20 minutes longer.  Serves 6.

Note: To fricassee a broiler-fryer chicken, select a 3- to 4-pound bird and cook slowly 45 minutes until fork-tender.

Dumplings: Measure 1 1/2 C. flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, and 1/4 tsp. salt into a bowl.  Add 3 T. snipped chives, if desired.  Cut in 3 T. shortening (or butter) until mixture resembles meal.  Stir in 3/4 C. milk.

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