A long time ago I first made a batch of chicken and dumplings. I don’t really know why or how, but they were pretty easy. Quite often I would burn the chicken to the bottom of the pot, but usually to no ill effects.
I don’t know why I had to mess with a good thing. I decided that at this point in my life I was ready for a more sophisticated and colorful version of my classic. I of course turned to the smitten kitchen site for my recipe. The recipe itself is fairly straightforward. Not a lot of fancy ingredients, but plenty of flavor. It calls for using bone-in chicken thighs. They get browned with the skin left on. Then you have to take them out and rip the skin off. And save chicken fat for the dumplings. Then you add veggies, broth, herbs, and ideally the whole thing bubbles happily away for hours.
This did not happen. I was innocently eating toast in the other room. I smelled a faint burnt smell but foolishly though it was my toast or coffee. It wasn’t. The chicken was melded to the bottom of my large pot. In fact, two weeks and multiple scrubbings later, the bottom of my pot is still resolutely black.
I had to perform an emergency intervention which involved ladling the chicken stew into a separate bowl and washing out my other two smaller pots (that I’d used for browning the bone-in chicken thighs) and then redistributing the stew.
I “saved” my stew but the flavor profile remained resolutely burnt with a hint of meaty richness. The dumpling were good but nothing to write home about. And tarragon tastes like black licorice! Why didn’t I know this before I threw it in my chicken and dumplings?!?
And of course, clean up had yet to happen. I don’t have a dishwasher, a garbage disposal, or a sink in which to soak pots. I do have a sink but it’s about four inches deep. This is why cereal for dinner or half a chipotle burrito (half saved for lunch the next day) usually seems like a better choice. I spent the whole day cooking only to give my self well over an hour’s worth of clean-up.
So back to the Betty Crocker recipe I shall go. Perhaps someday when I have a grown-up kitchen with all the modern conveniences I’ll tackle this recipe again, but until then it’s just too much work.