I thought autumn was here after we got back from Seattle in September. We had a couple days of cold weather, which made me break out sweaters and order a new pair of loafers 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 definitely in the mood for some rain, gloom and cozying up; but, it looks like it may be a wee longer as the weather has turned completely the other way, and it is HOT. Thanks “global warming”.
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 creeped 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 blistery 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.