For the Chicken Stew:
Place the chicken in a large stock pot and cover with very lightly salted water. Partly cover the kettle, and cook the fowl until tender. Simmer gently, do not allow to boil. When tender, remove the pieces from the broth. When cool enough to handle, separate the chicken meat from the bones and trim into smaller pieces. Reserve.
There should be four to five cups of broth. Skim off the fat and measure the broth. Cook peeled carrots and potatoes cut into bite-size pieces in the broth until fork-tender. Strain broth. Chop the ½ lb. Mushrooms somewhat coarsely. In a separate pan, sauté them in melted butter about 5 minutes. Add chopped parsley and thyme.
For each cup of skimmed broth, mix 1 ½ Tablespoons of the rendered fat or butter (or a mixture of both) with the same amount of flour. Stir several spoonfuls of the hot broth into the fat/flour mixture, and then pour the mixture back into the broth in the kettle. Cook the gravy until it is slightly thickened. Add ½ cup heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken, mushrooms and vegetables to the gravy. Make mushroom dumplings, recipe follows.
Wild Mushroom Dumplings
Saute onions in butter until translucent. Add mushroom and stir in, cooking to release moisture content. Add remaining ingredients and simmer on low for 20 minutes. Allow to cool for ½ hour.
sift the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg together. Beat the egg, add the milk and mix lightly with the dry ingredients, but don’t fully incorporate. Next, add the above cooled mushroom mixture to the dumpling mixture and stir to incorporate, being careful not to over-mix. Drop by spoonfuls into the boiling chicken stew with the chicken meat separated from the bones and vegetables added. Cover tightly and cook 15 minutes. Don’t peek!
Cranberry sauce is an excellent accompaniment.