Old Bay Chicken and Dumplings
(Ginger BBQ Braised Chicken Legs with Sausage and Apple Dumplings and Collard Greens)

Serves 4
By Chef Lia

Ingredients for the Dumplings:

  • 1 ¾ all-purpose flour
  • ¾ c yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 c half-and-half
  • 1 granny smith apple, peeled, small dice
  • 1 tbsp applesauce
  • ½ lb cooked and drained ground Italian sausage - ** reserve fat for collard greens

Heat 1 tbsp cooking oil in a large sauté pan. When the oil begins to smoke, add the sausage to the pan. Cook on high heat, stirring and scraping the sausage continuously. When the meat begins to brown, add the diced apple. Brown the apple along with the sausage, breaking the sausage up completely as you cook it. When the sausage and apples are cooked, drain mix into a colander over a bowl to catch the drippings. DO NOT DISCARD THE DRIPPINGS; YOU WILL BE USING THEM TO COOK THE COLLARD GREENS LATER ON.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and thyme. Slowly whisk in half-and-half, then the applesauce. Fold in the sausage-apple mixture. Reserve the batter until you are ready to cook the chicken.

Ingredients for the Collard Greens:

  • 2 large white onions, medium dice
  • 1 ¼ c chicken broth
  • ¼ c cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ tsp dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 ½ pounds collard greens, washed and coarsely chopped, using only thin stems and leaves

You can use the same pan that you cooked the sausage and apples in to cook the collard greens. Heat pan adding the reserved sausage drippings and 1 tsp cooking oil. Add the onions and sauté over medium heat until they are browned for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Deglaze with the cider vinegar then add the chicken stock. Add the brown sugar and red pepper flakes, dissolving the sugar. Add half of the greens to the pan, stirring until they are wilted enough to add the remainder. Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes, until greens are tender. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Ingredients for the Braised Chicken:

  • 4 each chicken drumsticks and thighs
  • 1 large white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 piece ginger root, approximately 1 inch by ½-inch, peeled and grated
  • 2 c ketchup
  • 1 c apple cider
  • ½ c cider vinegar
  • 3 c chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • ½ c brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin

Heat 2 tbsp cooking oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or rondeau. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. When the oil starts to smoke, add chicken skin side down to the pan. If you cannot fit all the pieces at one time, do it in two batches to ensure you do not crowd the pan and get a nice caramelization on the meat. Sear each side of the chicken on high heat for about 3 minutes, or until dark golden brown. Remove the meat from the pan then add the chopped vegetables and grated fresh ginger. Continue to cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cook for about 6-8 minutes, until vegetable are browned. Put the chicken back in, and then add the remaining ingredients. Stir, incorporating all ingredients, and let it come up to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and barely simmer for about 15-20 minutes. (Depending on the size of your chicken legs, closer to 20 minutes for larger ones, 15 for smaller ones)

At this point you can take a large soup spoon and drop the dumplings, one by one, into the chicken pot. Cover and let the dumplings simmer in the pot for about 12 minutes. At this point both the dumplings and the chicken should be ready to serve; the dumplings will be ready when they you insert a wooden pick and it comes out clean. Place the chicken and dumplings over the collard greens and spoon some of the sauce to serve.