While the natural recipe to put here would be chicken and dumplings, in which a soft, biscuit-like dough is dropped directly onto the simmering chicken stew and then steamed until done, I like the version in my first slow cooker book so much I don’t even want to change it. But I think this cobbler is even better. The stew is a classic flour-thickened and cold-weather-vegetable-heavy affair, and the topping—though you don’t even have to put it on top—is a contrasting fluffy, crusty cheddar biscuit.
This might seem like a complicated recipe, but it’s simpler than it looks. You can even substitute bakery-bought biscuits for homemade, or just leave them off and serve the hearty stew as is, perhaps with some good bread.
Start the stew: In the slow cooker, combine the flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and several grindings of pepper. Toss the chicken and onion in the mixture to coat. In a large skillet or sauté pan, heat the schmaltz over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add half of the chicken and onion and cook, turning occasionally, until the chicken is golden on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Scrape into a bowl and brown the remaining chicken and onion mixture (it’s okay if some of the flour dredge remains in the cooker). Return all of the chicken and onion to the cooker. Pour
Start the drop biscuits: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and pinch it in with your fingertips. Add the cheese and toss to combine. If doing this in the morning, put the bowl in the refrigerator.
Finish the drop biscuits:
Finish the stew: Fold in the parsley. Season the stew with salt and lots of pepper. If it’s very liquid, ladle some of the liquid into a bowl and whisk in 2 or more tablespoons flour, then gently stir it back into the stew.
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