1 5-6 lb. whole chicken, cut up, skin removed
1 Tbl. fresh chopped fresh thyme OR 1 1/2 tsp. dried
salt & pepper to taste
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2" chunks
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can cream of chicken or cream of celery soup
2 fresh bay leaves
2 cups chicken stock
1 Tbl. allpurpose flour
1 cup fresh or frozen peas, at room temperature
fresh flatleaf parsley or chives for garnish
2 cups allpurpose flour
1 Tbl. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
In medium bowl, combine cream soup, chicken stock and 1 Tbl. flour. Whisk until smooth. Scatter onions, celery, carrots, garlic and bay leaves in bottom of clay baker. Season lightly with salt & pepper. Season both sides of chicken pieces with salt, pepper and thyme. Place chicken pieces over vegetables in baker. Pour chicken stock mixture evenly over top of chicken pieces. Cover baker and place in cold oven. Set oven temperature to 450°F and bake for 1 hour.
While chicken bakes, sift together dry ingredients for dumplings into a large bowl. Stir in chopped chives. About 5 to 10 minutes before chicken is finished cooking, stir the eggs and buttermilk (start with 3/4 cup) into the dry dumpling mixture. Stir thoroughly to combine. The batter should be the consistency of thick pancake batter (add more buttermilk if necessary to achieve a thick batter).
After 1 hour, remove baker from oven. Remove the chicken pieces to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm. (chicken should be tender and falling of the bone). Remove and discard the bay leaves, then stir peas into sauce in baker. Working quickly, carefully drop dumpling batter by heaping tablespoons over hot mixture in baker, trying to leave some space between dumplings. Cover baker with lid and return to oven. Bake 15 minutes (do not open lid to check dumplings). Remove baker from oven. Remove lid to check dumplings, they should be firm and puffy. (if dumplings are not puffy, cover baker and return to oven for an additional 5 minutes.) Garnish with parsley or chives if desired. Serve dumplings and sauce with chicken, bones removed.