Thursday, June 9th, 2016
Chicken and Sweet Potato Gnocchi in a Silky Velouté –
Those were my intentions. The Sweet Potato gnocchi didn’t turn out as delicate as I would have hoped. They were more like the rolling rocks of roux, that my mother use to put in her chicken and dumplings.
So what did I do with my mess up? I took my dense yet intense sweet potato gnocchi and made chicken and dumplings.
In the South the sauce used in this dish is thick and nearly coagulating and the vegetables are close to mush. And there is nothing wrong with that, it’s DELICIOUS. The sauce I used to offset the dense gnocchi/dumplings/lead weights was a light chicken velouté with some tarragon and a little lemon. The vegetables were firm yet thoroughly cooked.
So when something goes wrong in the kitchen don’t toss it, repurpose it. Every time you mess something up in the kitchen it’s a lesson. You’ve learned something that you can apply next time. I learned I’m gonna stop trying to make gnocchi. I also learned that package gnocchi make the perfect dumplings.
I love dumplings in all their variations. Ravioli & tortellini, gyoza & wantons, pierogi & keblach, spaetzle and yes, gnocchi. These are all dumplings and I love them all. My idea of heaven is a giant dim sum palace with a never ending parade of dumpling carts.
What dumplings are not, however, is Bisquick batter dropped into chicken stock. My apologies to Betty Crocker but Soggy bread floating in my soup is not my idea of dumplings.
I also found out that February 7th was National Fettucini Alfredo Day so I decided to make Chicken and dumplings (with gnocchi as the dumplings) in an Alfredo sauce. Oh yeah.
Prepare in advance one 10oz package of gnocchi and 1 1/2 pound approximately 3 cups of cooked chicken shredded or cut into cubes. I poached chicken breasts in equal parts of chicken stock and dry vermouth.
The vegetables for the classic Chicken and Dumplings are carrots, celery and onion. A basic mirepoix. I used 2 medium carrots, 2 stalks of celery and 1 medium onion cut into ½ inch pieces.
Add 2 TBL of olive oil to a sauce pan and cook mirepoix
Sautee for about 5 minutes stirring often until slightly browned.
WHILE THE VEGETABLES ARE COOKING START YOUR ALFREDO SAUCE.
Add 2 sticks of butter into a sauce pan cut up into squares to help it melt faster. Once melted add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds stirring constantly. You just want to sweat the garlic to begin to bring out the flavor. Add the 2 cups of Heavy Cream and bring to a slow low boil.
Don’t be using no 2% or almond milk and don’t try to convince me that it would be just as good. Simply use less sauce when assembling the dish. There is a tendency to drown pasta in sauce. This dish with the chicken and vegetables doesn’t have to take a bath.
BACK TO THE VEGETABLES
Add 1 cup of stock or white wine to the pan to deglaze. I used 1 cup of the poaching liquid. Turn the heat to low, cover and simmer for another 5 – 10 minutes until
vegetables are softened to your desired consistency. Remove cover and continue to cook to evaporate almost all the stock.
BACK TO THE SAUCE.
Continue to boil and simmer the butter and cream for 8 to 10 minutes reducing the cream and thickening the sauce. Add a 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt, you can adjust to taste later.
Remove the sauce from the heat and add the cheese slowly whisking it into the cream.
Return to the heat and cook another couple of minutes. Taste and then adjust the salt and pepper.
You should have a little more than 2.5 cups of nice creamy sauce depending on how much you reduce the cream. It should be more sauce than you need so we’re going to assemble the dish in our sautee pan and spoon the the sauce over on top to control how much sauce to use.
FINISHING THE DISH:
Add the cooked chicken to the veggies – TURN
Add the cooked gnocchi – TURN
Then ladle the Alfredo sauce over the top. This sauce is extremely rich and a little goes a long way but a lot is luscious. Consult your doctor.
Turn everything together gently and serve.
Any sauce you don’t use can be put aside and refrigerated or even frozen once it comes to room temperature. Heat the sauce up when ever you want to put together a quick meal.