Savory Roasted Chicken With Brown Butter Sage and Cheese Dumplings

By Michael Harris-Arzon, The Simplistic Professional

Roast chicken legs in paprika cream sauce

One of my earliest memories as a child is watching my great-grandmother make dumplings.  She took such pride in every dish she made and encouraged me to sit next to the stove on a stool and watch as she dropped these little pockets of heaven into the chicken soup.  You can’t get more country than Chicken and Dumplings.

Growing up with Southern and Country Cuisines taught me to appreciate food more than people realize.  Rather than learning how to cook using the best cuts of meat or highest quality ingredients limits chefs in the scope of their capabilities.  I learned how to take the most basic of ingredients and turn them into food experiences that have people begging for more.

Elevating those delicious recipes to a level that even the most discerning of foodies can’t ignore has been a great challenge.  The outcome has been the creation of new family favorites and a refusal to go back the original recipes, no matter how good they are.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Lbs. Chicken Thighs, Boneless (preferred, but any cut of chicken will work)
  • 3 Cups Chicken Stock / Broth, Low Sodium
  • 3 Cups Vegetable Stock / Broth
  •  1 1/2 Cups Carrots, Medium Slices
  • 1 1/2 Cups Celery, Medium Slices
  • 1 Large Red Onion, Chopped Medium
  • 3/4 Stick Butter, Salted
  • 2 1/4 Cups Bisquik Baking Mix
  • 2/3 Cup Milk, Very Cold
  • 1 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Shredded / Grated Medium
  • 10 Large Fresh Sage Leaves, Chopped Fine
  • 3 Tbs. Mesquite Seasoning
  • 2 Tbs. Cracked Peppercorns
  • Olive Oil
  • 1/2+ Cup Flour

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Rinse your chicken thighs and pat dry with paper towels.  Then make sure to check each thigh and trim off any excess chicken fat as thighs can be quite fatty and you don’t want any big chunks of fat.  It’s ok to leave some fat, as it does contribute to the flavor.  Place your chicken thighs into a greased casserole or baking dish, fat side down.  Sprinkle with your 3 tbs. of Mesquite seasoning.  Drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Roast on the center rack of your preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until done.  Remove from the oven and let rest for about 5 minutes before cutting into medium size chunks and setting aside.
  4. While your chicken thighs are roasting, in a large stock pot melt 1/2 stick of butter over medium-high heat.  Once your butter is melted, add your chopped red onion, your celery and carrot slices.  Cook until your onions become translucent.
  5. To your stock pot, add your vegetable broth, chicken broth and 2 tbs. cracked peppercorns.  Bring to a rolling boil and reduce to a medium heat.
  6. Add your chunks of roasted chicken thighs, cover and let cook for about 15 minutes while you prepare your dumplings. Tip:  Many people prefer whole chicken pieces which are fine for this recipe.  Simply roast your preferred bone-in chicken pieces as above and refrain from adding to the soup.  Add during the plating step instead.
  7. In a small sauce pan, melt 1/4 stick of butter over medium-high heat and cook until it turns a golden brown.  Occasionally swirl your sauce pan to keep the butter from burning.  Remove from the heat and pour into a small bowl to cool. Tip: You can speed up the coming process by putting in the refrigerator for 1 minute.  But do not let it re-solidify, so pay attention.
  8. To a large mixing bowl, add your Bisquik baking mix, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped fresh sage, your cooled brown butter and 2/3 cups cold milk. Mix with a wooden spoon until just combined.  Your dough should be very thick and slightly lumpy.
  9. Onto a clean counter, sprinkle your 1/2 cup of flour. Dump your dumpling dough onto your floured surface.  Sprinkle the top with flour to keep from sticking to your hands.  Then with the plans of your hands, flatten out your dough and inch thick.  Be careful to not press too hard so you don’t make your dumplings dense.  With a large knife, cut your dumplings into about 1″ squares.
  10. Turn the heat back up to medium-high on your chicken soup.  Once it comes to a rolling boil, one by one drop your dumplings into the chicken soup.  It only takes about 5 minutes to cook your dumplings.  Occasionally use your wooden spoon to press the dumplings down and keep them separated (they can stick together).
  11. Once your dumplings are cooked through, use a soup ladle to serve into large soup bowls and enjoy!
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