Creating an entire cooking style by combing or fusing different styles together is nothing new and neither is putting a twist on one particular type of food. A large part of the fun in cooking is taking a classic and presenting it in another way. Take chicken and dumplings for example. Traditionally, a simple stock is made by simmering a whole chicken with a few vegetables. When the chicken is tender the meat is pulled of the bone, bones roasted and saved to make an additional stock. The stock is reduced to intensify the flavors. The picked chicken is added back to the stock and is reduced slightly. To make the dumpling a basis biscuit dough is made, cut into small pieces and dropped into the simmering stock to cook; the result is a perfect, simple comfort food. To twist this dish up just a little bit, I decided to replace the biscuit dough with a pillowy, light potato dumplingsor gnocchi. Gnocchi is an Italian dumpling that is made with baked or boiled whole potatoes which are passed through a ricer. Gnocchi can even be made with ricotta cheese. Roasting the chicken and presenting it on top of the gnocchi keeps it luscious and moist. Putting these to concepts together makes perfect sense but can’t completely be called “Southern” comfort food because of the slight twist made to the dish. Therefore I call this style, Pseudo Southern. Unbeknown to me I have been twisting up southern cuisine for years. A while back I decided to put a bunch of these recipes together in my new cookbook, “It’s That Simple-Pseudo Southern,” which is due out later this fall. Enjoy this recipe and twisting up a few of your own.
Roasted chicken and potato gnocchi dumplingsChicken: 1 Whole Chicken-halved
To Drizzle-Olive Oil
To Taste-Chef Troy’s Spice Mix Base: 1 Tablespoon-Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons-Unsalted Butter
1/4 Cup-Carrots-peeled, small dice
1/4 Cup-Onions-small dice
1/4 Cup-Celery-small dice
2 Cloves-Garlic-fine dice
To Taste-Kosher Salt/Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons-All Purpose Flour
5-6 Cups-Chicken Stock-store bought or made from bones of roasted chicken
2 Tablespoons-Parsley-leaves only Chopped
½ Cup-frozen Peas
1 Recipe-Potato Dumplings-see recipe below Dumplings: 3/4 Pound-Russet Potatoes-washed, boil until tender, 25 to 30 minutes
¼ Cup-Parmesan Cheese-grated, plus extra for garnish
1 Each-Egg-slightly beaten
1/8 Teaspoon-Black Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon-Kosher Salt
¾-1 Cup-All Purpose Flour Directions 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and an iron skillet to medium heat
2. Rinse and pat completely dry chicken, and place on a sheet tray skin side up
3. Drizzle with oil, rub all over and season with Spice Mix.
4. Place in skillet, skin side down and cook until skin is crispy, about 5 minutes.
5. Flip chicken halves, place in oven and roast until tender, 45 minutes, or internal temperature 160 degrees.
6. Remove and allow to cool while making the base.
7. Warm the olive oil and butter in a large pot or Dutch oven
8. To make base add carrot, onion, celery and garlic, season with salt/pepper.
9. Cook stirring frequently until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
10. Add flour and stir to coat vegetables.
11. Add chicken stock a cup at a time, stirring continuously until all has been incorporated.
12. Reduce heat to medium low; stir periodically while picking chicken and making dumplings.
13. Remove skin from chicken, pick off meat in bite size pieces, discard skin and bones.
14. Cover chicken to keep warm while making the dumplings.
15. Peel skin off of boiled potatoes, and pass through a ricer or fine mesh sieve into a large mixing bowl.
16. Add cheese, egg, salt/pepper to bowl and half the flour.
17. Gently mix adding a little more flour at a time to form a soft dough.
18. Cut dough into 8 pieces; roll each into a long rope about 1/2” thick.
19. Cut each rope into pieces about an ½” long.
20. Place finished potato dumplings onto a heavily floured baking sheet covered with a towel.
21. Add dumplings to base, a few at time to make sure they don’t stick together.
22. Once dumplings are all floating remove from pot with slotted spoon; place in center of individual bowls.
23. Any remaining gnocchi should be placed in an ice bath to stop cooking.
24. Drain and toss with a little oil to keep from sticking together.
25. Top gnocchi with some roasted chicken, ladle base over both just to cover.
26. Garnish with parmesan, parsley and serve.