Salsa Verde Chicken Stew

Cold weather = Soup and stew weather.

It's almost Christmas.  My advent calendar tells me so.  Since I have grown up in Michigan all my life, where snow is an annual and reliable occurrence,  Christmas really never does seem complete down here in Tennessee.  If it does ever snow here, it is only like 1 inch, if that.  It hardly sticks and is usually gone within 3 days.  I am used to a snow depth closer to a few feet.  Building igloos and snowmen in the backyard, going snowboarding on school snow days (which did not happen unless snowfall accumulation was >3 feet.),  shoveling driveways all bundled up in our one piece snowsuits, sledding down dead-mans hill on an inner-tube, and diving head first into huge snow drifts were just a few of the favorite snow activities that went on during our Michigan winters.  Since I have moved here to Tennessee, I have not gotten to take part in any of these activities.  Sad.  I did try to sled with a garbage bag when we had a few inches last year, but it was a miserable fail.  I did get to make a small snowman one year in college.  Michigan is freezing!  You do not go outside without at least 4 layers on, plus a coat.  The best thing about the cold is coming inside to have some hot chocolate, hot cider or a nice hot meal that my mom had prepared.
Don't mind the stain up there in the corner.  I also apologize for the yellow tint from my awful kitchen lighting.
It finally snowed here in Nashville.  They made it sound like a enormous storm was on its way and was coming right at us, as if our whole city would be covered in 6 feet of snow.  We got 3 inches.  For Tennesseans, 3 inches is plenty of snow to freak out.  When I say freak out, I mean 50 wrecks on our interstate.  I mean that people stock up on groceries for fear of not being able to leave their homes.  It's so funny to watch!  And very frustrating to drive in.  Those who have braved the drive, go about 15 miles an hour, constantly hitting their brakes (which is worse, if there actually is ice).  I'm not hating on the Tennesseans, I promise.  It's just a completely different reaction to snow then my upbringing.  I did in fact go out on this cold snowy day, to get some craft supplies for the gingerbread house that we are making.  People looked at me like I was crazy when they saw I was actually driving the speed limit and not 20 miles below it.  It's just so funny.  Anywho, got done running around the almost deserted streets of Nashville, came home and made this delicious dish.  Salsa Verde Chicken Stew with Herbed Cornmeal Dumplings.  That's a really long name.  I'm just going to call it Mexican Chicken & Dumplings.  It's soooo good.  Warm spicy and thick.  Will warm you to the bone.  The little cornmeal dough balls are the best.  And it's super spicy, so that's good.

Salsa Verde Chicken Stew with Herbed Cornmeal Dumplings (Mexican Chicken & Dumplings)
from Perfect One-Dish Dinners  
Serves 6.

for the stew:
1/2 stick (4 tbsp) butter
1/2 cup flour
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
2 cups salsa verde (you can use a store-bought jar, but I made my own because I like to make things difficult  delicious)
1 can (5oz) evaporated milk
2 chicken breasts, cooked through and shredded 

for the dumplings:
1 cup milk
3 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

For stew:  Heat 1/2 stick butter in a large sauce pan or dutch oven over med-hi heat.  whisk in flour.  mix broth, salsa verde and evaporated milk in all at once.  Whisk vigorously at first, then until mixture simmers and sauce thickens.  Stir in chicken, heat through, and cover to keep warm.  Heat oven to 400 degrees.

For dumplings:  Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan until steamy.  Mix flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, scallions and cilantro in a bowl.  Stir in milk mixture to form a dough.  Make ping pong size balls out of the dough and drop onto the chicken mixture.  Simmer over med-hi heat.  Cover and transfer to the oven and bake until dumplings are cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. 

Serve and be warmed.  

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