Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Challenge In The Kitchen - Chicken & Gnocchi

Yesterday, I totally stepped out of my comfort zone and made the recipe below that I saw in the February 2014 issue of Southern Living magazine. I made a few modifications but those were made out of necessity (or poor planning?) rather than preference.

Like pasta, gnocchi is so versatile and I have many ideas for using it in other recipes and with other sauces. I thought all gnocchi was potato-based but this recipe uses flour and breadcrumbs instead. I was looking for more gnocchi recipes yesterday and learned that, similar to sauces, different regions of Italy use different ingredients to make gnocchi - some regions use flour, some use potatoes, others use ricotta cheese and breadcrumbs. Obviously, with such a variety of ingredients, there are many, many recipes for gnocchi out there. Now that I know how easy it is to make, I plan to try a few more. 

Although I love love love gnocchi, I have never attempted to make it nor have I ever even thought about making it. I am so glad I decided to go ahead and make this dish. If this recipe/my photos look even the slightest bit appealing to you, please make it! Tonight! It is absolutely AMAZING! All thumbs were (high) up from my critics. 
Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller  

Chicken and Gnocchi

Southern Living FEBRUARY 2014
  • Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings
  • Hands-on:40 Minutes
  • Total:1 Hour


  • 1 cup soft, fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 fresh sage sprig (optional)
  • Kitchen string
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
  • 4 cups shredded cooked chicken


1. Prepare Gnocchi: Stir together first 8 ingredients in a large bowl until smooth. Very gently fold in flour just until blended.
2. Spoon dough into a zip-top plastic freezer bag. Snip 1 corner of bag to make a 1/2-inch hole. Squeeze 10 to 12 (1-inch) dough pieces into a pot of boiling salted water; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until gnocchi float. Lightly grease a jelly-roll pan with cooking spray. Transfer gnocchi to prepared pan, using a slotted spoon. Cover with plastic wrap. Repeat procedure with remaining dough.
3. Prepare Chicken: Tie together thyme and, if desired, sage sprigs with kitchen string. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and herb bundle; cook 5 minutes or until carrots are tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in wine, and cook 2 minutes or until reduced by half. Sprinkle with flour, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in broth. Add Parmesan rind, if desired.
4. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, partially covered, 20 minutes or until slightly thickened. Discard herb bundle and cheese rind. Stir in chicken and gnocchi, and cook 3 to 5 minutes or until hot.

On to the nitty gritty...

The recipe just specified "cooked chicken" and I poached three chicken breasts in a mixture of water, white wine, salt and pepper. I chopped (rather than shredded as the recipe called for) the chicken and I did not measure exactly how much I used. 
As with last night's recipe, I "upped" the veggie amounts from what the recipe called for. I used 3 stalks of celery and 4 medium sized carrots. I was also very generous with the amounts of sage, thyme and garlic used. And, I will confess, I bid my "no wine" pledge adieu and had a glass from that bottle. It was calling my name. 
 I cannot tell you how good my kitchen smelled while I was sauteing the herbs, carrots and celery. 
 The addition of the garlic made it that much more aromatic!
Oops No. 1. I didn't read the recipe closely and dumped the wine and the chicken broth in at the same time. My fix was to let it all simmer for 3-4 minutes before whisking the flour in. I then let it cook for the suggested 20 minutes and it noticeably thickened. No harm done. I guess. 
Then it was on to making the gnocchi. Although this was the one part of the recipe that I was determined to follow to the "T", I had quite a few "oops!" here. 

Ooops Nos. 2, 3 and 4. I forgot to leave the white bread out during the day so it would be stale enough to crumble and use for breadcrumbs. My last minute fix was to bake in the oven for 10 minutes and finely cube with a knife. Not exactly "crumbs" but oh well. I also forgot to pick up parsley at the store so I had to use the tubed variety. And, my Parmesan cheese was not freshly grated but out of a bag.

 My gnocchi mixture ready to be piped into the boiling pot of water.
Okay, now I know these gnocchi do not look all that appealing but they were amazingly delicious! The recipe called for them to be placed on a greased jelly roll pan after cooking but, since I don't even know what a jelly roll pan is, I put them on a greased plate instead.
On the table...I served with a bowl of Parmesan cheese for additional flavor.
 Ready to eat!
One last confession, as I was making the gnocchi (and anticipating a huge FAIL!), I was contemplating what food from which take-out restaurant would end up on our table for dinner. I am so happy that it turned out as well as it did. Everyone loved it and there was just enough left for Kevin to take some for his lunch today. 

After I saw this photo on a friend's Facebook of a creepy crawly found on the ISB campus (the kids' former school), I remembered one of the reasons why I am so glad we no longer live in Thailand...
Have a great Thursday!

No comments: