This is from Christopher Kimball's The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook. Kimball is best known as the founder and editor of the excellent Cook's Illustrated magazine.
1 (3- to 4-pound) chicken, cut into pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
2 cups coarsely chopped mushrooms (about 6 ounces)
½ cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup half-and-half
Freshly ground nutmeg to taste
¼ cup minced flat-leaf parsley
For the dumplings
2 cups flour
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons butter, melted
¾ cup buttermilk, or more as needed
1. Heat oven to the lowest possible setting. Cut the chicken into 10 pieces (cut the breast in half again), rinse, and pat dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a very large Dutch oven with a cover. When foam subsides, add chicken pieces in two batches, starting with the skin side down, and brown both sides over medium-high heat, a total of 10 to 12 minutes for each batch. Return all chicken to Dutch oven, add stock and water, bring to a simmer, and cook gently, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Be sure that the thigh meat is thoroughly cooked. Remove chicken to a bowl, cover with aluminum foil, and place in 200° oven to keep warm. Strain cooking liquid through 4 layers of cheesecloth. (You can skip straining the sauce for a less "refined" dish.) Return the liquid to the Dutch oven.
2. While the chicken is cooking, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. When hot, add the mushrooms and onion and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mushrooms release their liquid, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the half-and-half and season liberally with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
3. For the dumplings, whisk together the first three ingredients. Whisk together the egg, melted butter and buttermilk. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula to form a dough, much like a biscuit dough. If it needs a bit more buttermilk to moisten (it probably will) add it 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together. Roll out the dough to a ½-inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter. Bring the chicken broth to a simmer in the Dutch oven, add the dumplings, and cook, covered for 15 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl and place in the preheated oven.
4. Whisk the onion-mushroom mixture into the broth in the Dutch oven over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 or 4 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly (it will be the consistency of half-and-half). Arrange chicken and dumplings on serving plates and cover with sauce. Garnish with an abundance of parsley.
Serves 4 to 6.
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