We just enjoyed a couple days of cold weather, which made me break out sweaters and order a new pair of winter shoes to keep cozy. Then we had about one and a half days of rain, which made me break out the slow cooker. I made short rib tacos, an insanely rich pork broth and this recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken with Buttermilk Dumplings. I am not sure what part of this recipe I enjoy more, the creamy chicken or the rich and tangy dumplings. I am definitely in the mood for some gloom and cozying up.
As I dusted off my slow cooker, I couldn’t but feel as if my sweet friend Andy, was cooking alongside me. Andy, passed away rather unexpectedly the day we were driving home from Seattle. 6 hours from home, just as we crept up on the smokey Oregon border, we got the call. I knew as I saw who was calling. My heart sank, I didn’t want to answer, and Lenny as he drove told me I had too. I came home, went to bed, and the next day brought out that slow cooker. Andy was the one who talked me into getting one. He had one and loved it. I mean he really loved this thing! Every time we went over for a slow cooker dinner, he raved about how easy it was and how everything came out tasting so good. I broke down the end of March and bought one for our home.
Let’s talk Slow Cooker Chicken with Buttermilk Dumplings, shall we? I find comfort in a big bowl of chicken with dumplings on a cold blustery night. I typically make it on the stovetop or in the oven but applied the same methods using the slow cooker. I browned the meat until golden brown just seasoned with salt, pepper, and thyme. After simmering all day, the meat was very moist and was falling off the bones. Speaking of meaty bones; I always use chicken thighs with bones and skin, as there is more flavor that makes for a more flavorful finished recipe. Trust me. I changed my dumpling recipe for this version to keep things “interesting”, and a bit different than the way I normally do things. This time I added melted butter and buttermilk along with minced parsley, the forgotten herb. It was the right decision, as each dumpling was delicate and flavorful. I was concerned about adding the dumplings to the slow cooker, but it worked out perfectly. Though they did spread a little more than when cooked either on the stovetop or in the oven. The only adjustment I made when cooking the dumplings was to turn up the heat to high and then letting them simmer for thirty minutes. It is a recipe that is easy enough to begin during the day, and finish off before enjoying as you set the table.
I am finding comfort every time I dust off the slow cooker and begin a recipe recently. I put some cooking music on, gather my ingredients, open my heart, and invite Andy to join me by my side as I begin to work. I find comfort in knowing that not only am I making something to nourish myself and my loved ones but also that he will always be with me as I begin to chop, season and stir. I am sure Andy would have approved of this recipe for a big bowl of comfort, and am sure you will also enjoy it.
Slow Cooker Chicken with Buttermilk Dumplings
8 chicken thighs, with bone and skin
fresh black pepper
3 teaspoons thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, small dice
4 cups chicken stock
4 carrots, scrubbed and small diced
1 cup frozen green peas
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, finely minced
4 teaspoons melted butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
Mix the salt, pepper, and thyme together in a small bowl.
Coat the chicken thighs with the seasoning.
If you are using a slow cooker with a removable insert for stovetop browning, then place over medium heat on the stove top. If not, then place a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil.
Brown the chicken thighs on all sides until lightly golden brown. You may need to do this in batches of 3 or 4 thighs.
Add the onion, stir and cook for three minutes.
Either place the insert into the slow cooker or pour everything from the frying pan into your slow cooker.
Add the chicken stock, and lightly stir.
Cover with a lid and cook at low heat for 4 1/2 hours.
After 4 hours, stir in the carrots, cover and continue cooking.
In a small mixing bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, baking side, salt, black pepper, and parsley.
Add the melted butter and buttermilk, stir with a fork until mixed.
Remove the bones from the pot of cooked chicken, along with the chicken skin if you do not care for it.
Add the dumpling mixture by spoonfuls, to the chicken mixture in the slow cooker.
Cover with a lid, turn the temperature up to high, for 30 minutes.
Gently stir in the peas.