Chicken Fricassee with Cheese Herb Dumplings

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Sprinkle chicken on both sides with seasonings. Heat oil in heavy pot and brown chicken in batches. Set aside. Reduce heat and add flour, scraping up browned bits with spoon. Cook the roux until it colors to a light brown, mashing lumps.

Be careful not to burn. Whisk in 3 cups water and the wine and return chicken to pot. Simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour, covered. In Dutch oven, sauté vegetables in butter until softened. Strain chicken stock through a colander, add to vegetables, and continue simmering. Skim fat as it rises. Stir in seasonings.

Meanwhile, cool chicken in a colander over a bowl and prepare the dumplings. Remove meat from bones and add to Dutch oven, along with any drippings. Spoon in dumplings, cover and cook for 15 minutes, keeping stew at a slow boil. Cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes longer.

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon chervil
1/3 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2/3 cup milk

These fluffy dumplings with crusty tops are excellent with chicken stew and may be adapted for beef stew by substituting rosemary and thyme for chervil and omitting the cheese. Stir flour, salt, baking powder and chervil together. Stir in cheese. Mix egg, butter and milk together and stir into flour mixture to make a moist, stiff batter.

Using 2 teaspoons, drop dumplings over bubbling stew. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, keeping stew at a slow boil. Cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes longer.

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