Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Chicken Veg Gnocchi

NAME: _Chicken Veg Gnocchi

200g chicken meat (see NOTES)
2 brown onions
2 cloves garlic
1 stem celery
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 yellow button squash
1/4 small cauliflower
500g potato gnocch
chicken stock and fat (see NOTES)
2 tbsp oil
1/2 litre water
2 litres salted water for gnocchi

Dice the onions, finely dice the garlic, slice the celery thinly. Fry these in the oil, adding the salt to draw moisture out. Add fennel seeds at this time.

Using fingers or a fork, shred the chicken meat coarsely.  Once the onions take on a slight golden hue, add the shredded chicken, fry for around five minutes then sprinkle the flour over, and stir in to coat the pieces as you keep frying. (See NOTES for why)

Dice the squash and pull apart the cauliflower, both into about gnocchi-sized pieces. Add these to the pan, then add the chicken stock and fat, stir through, then immediately add the water and reduce heat to simmer while preparing gnocchi in boiling salted water.

When they float to the surface, boil for a further few minutes to ten minutes, (depends on your particular gnocchi, they should be light and fluffy but not dissolving) then drain gnocchi and allow to dry slightly (toss often to prevent sticking at this stage) and then add to the chicken veg.

Serve immediately with crusty bread.

Chicken Meat: I'd roasted some undersized birds together in a pan for making stock and having some meat for other meals, this is a good way to process several birds at once. Don't crowd the baking dish, and make sure there's a few cups of water under the chickens, and baste them with it often during a slow roast. This is also a good way to use odd chicken parts, actually. I set the meat aside for other dishes, and put the bines and roast skin into water with vegetables to make a stock. (Separate article on stock coming soon.)
Chicken Stock and Fat: I set the roasting dish on top of a burner and reduce the water that's left after the chickens have been roasting, quite often I'll have rubbed the chickens with salt and crushed garlic so there's a lot of flavour in this stock base. About two tablespoons of the concentrated stock and a dollop of the fat is generally enough to impart HUGE flavour to the dish above.
Why Use The Flour: The chicken shreds would dry out pretty quickly in the hot oil and fat. Adding the flour and coating the chicken pieces retains some moisture (don't ask me how, it just does) and then thickens the gravy.
What This Dish Isn't: It's not quite a soup with gnocchi dumplings, not quite a dry braised chicken meal. But it's delish, and warming.


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