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Mouthwatering chicken, dumplings from star chef

One of the hottest chefs in the country graced the "Early Show on Saturday Morning" kitchen, as Andrea Resuing accepted our "Chef on a Shoestring" challenge.

The James Beard Foundation named Andrea Best Chef of the Southeast on Monday. She's only the third chef from North Carolina to ever receive the prestigious honor. Andrea's following that up by appearing at the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival next week.

She truly believes in the title of her new cookbook, "Cooking in the Moment," a compilation of recipes she cooked in her home kitchen.

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Andrea is a leader in the sustainable agriculture movement and feels strongly that cooking and eating seasonal vegetables can be the foundation of a full life.

She's owner and chef of the Lantern Restaurant, in Chapel Hill.

As our Chef on a Shoestring, Andrea attempted to prepare a delectable, seasonal three-course dinner for four on our stingy $40 duget.

On the menu:

  • Spring Vegetables with Garlic Mayonnaise
  • Chicken & Dumplings
  • Crushed Strawberry Sundaes

Our "Shoestring" chefs are automatically entered in our "How Low Can You Go?" competition, in which the one with the lowest ingredients cost gets invited back at year-end to make our holiday feast and gets to make whatever he or she wants and spend as much as it takes!

And viewers have a role in our "Chef on a Shoestring" segments, as well, getting to vote each week on the main course you want the following week's "Shoestringer" to whip up. To cast your vote for next week, click here.

FOOD FACTS (Source: Epicurious.com)

Fennel: There are two main types of this aromatic plant, both with pale green, celerylike stems and bright green, feathery foliage. Florence fennel, also called finocchio, is cultivated throughout the Mediterranean and in the United States. It has a broad, bulbous base that's treated like a vegetable. Both the base and stems can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in a variety of methods such as braising, sautéing or in soups. The fragrant, graceful greenery can be used as a garnish or snipped like dill and used for a last-minute flavor enhancer. This type of fennel is often mislabeled "sweet anise," causing those who don't like the flavor of licorice to avoid it. The flavor of fennel, however, is sweeter and more delicate than anise and, when cooked, becomes even lighter and more elusive than in its raw state. Common fennel is the variety from which the oval, greenish-brown fennel seeds come.

Bay leaf: Also called laurel leaf or bay laurel , this aromatic herb comes from the evergreen bay laurel tree, native to the Mediterranean. Early Greeks and Romans attributed magical properties to the laurel leaf and it has long been a symbol of honor, celebration and triumph, as in "winning your laurels." The two main varieties of bay leaf are Turkish (which has 1- to 2-inch-long oval leaves) and Californian (with narrow, 2- to 3-inch-long leaves). The Turkish bay leaves have a more subtle flavor than do the California variety. Bay leaves are used to flavor soups, stews, vegetables and meats. They're generally removed before serving. Overuse of this herb can make a dish bitter. Fresh bay leaves are seldom available in markets. Dried bay leaves, which have a fraction of the flavor of fresh, can be found in supermarkets. Store dried bay leaves airtight in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.

Leek: Looking like a giant scallion, the leek is related to both the garlic and the onion, though its flavor and fragrance are milder and more subtle. It has a thick, white stalk that's cylindrical in shape and has a slightly bulbous root end. The broad, flat, dark green leaves wrap tightly around each other like a rolled newspaper. Leeks are available year-round in most regions. Choose those with crisp, brightly colored leaves and an unblemished white portion. Avoid any with withered or yellow-spotted leaves. The smaller the leek, the more tender it will be.

RECIPES

Spring Vegetables with Garlic Mayonnaise

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 to 4 quarts of washed and trimmed raw vegetables such as:
  • Small carrots
  • Small fennel
  • Radishes
  • Baby turnips
  • Baby beets
  • Hearts of butter lettuce
  • Sweet scallions or spring onions

MORE:

  • 2 yolks from large eggs, at room temperature
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 small clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 to 2 anchovy fillets, to taste
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

METHOD:

Put the yolks in a wide-mouthed jar and pulse for about 30 seconds with a stick blender. Add a good pinch of salt, the garlic, the anchovy, the lemon juice and pulse again. While pulsing, slowly drizzle in the oil. Pulse until the mixture is emulsified. Taste for salt and thin with a little water if necessary.

For Andrea's recipes for Chicken and Dumplings and for Crushed Strawberry Sundaes, go to Page 2.

Chicken and Dumplings

A laying hen is a different animal from the six- to ten-week-old supermarket fryers, roasters, and broilers we usually see. Laying hens are typically sold between one- and three-years-old and create a different sort of stew, deeper in overall flavor but with less succulent meat. If you are using a laying hen, increase the cooking time to about an hour-and-a-half, or until the meat is very tender. It will not be necessary to remove the breast meat during cooking as directed below.

INGREDIENTS:

Stew:

  • 1 (4-pound) chicken with neck, gizzard, and heart
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 small onion, halved
  • 1 head of garlic, unpeeled, cut in half crosswise
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 large leek, white and green parts cut into a medium dice and washed, green top washed and reserved
  • About 20 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, stems reserved and leaves chopped (2 tablespoons) for garnish
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Dumplings:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives

Garnish:

  • 1 small bunch of fresh chives, cut into 3/4-inch batons
  • Freshly ground black pepper

METHOD:

Put the chicken, neck, gizzard, and heart in a 6-quart heavy pot. Cover with 3 quarts cold water and bring to a simmer over high heat. As the water approaches simmering, begin to skim away any fat or scum. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes while continuing to skim. Add 1 of the carrots, 1 of the celery stalks, the onion, garlic, bay leaves, 1 tablespoon salt, and the peppercorns. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. After letting it cool for a few minutes, cut off the breast meat, which ideally should be just done and still slightly pink at the bone. Set the meat aside and return the rest of the chicken to the pot. Simmer gently for 20 minutes over low heat. Add the dark green top of the leek and the parsley stems to the pot, and simmer for 10 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, dice the remaining 2 carrots and 2 celery stalks.

Remove the legs from the chicken and reserve. Strain the broth-you will have about 2 quarts. Discard the vegetables and bones. Rinse out the pot and pour the broth back into it (off the heat).

Prepare the dumpling batter: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix well with a wooden spoon, and then stir in the parsley and chives.

When the chicken legs are cool enough to handle, remove the skin and pick the meat off the bone. Gently tear it into bite-size chunks. Repeat with the reserved breast meat, and set all the chicken meat aside.

Bring the broth to a boil over high heat and add the diced carrots, celery, and leek and the wine. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 4 minutes, until the vegetables are slightly softened. Add the cream and chicken and bring back to a simmer. Check the seasoning and adjust as necessary.

Using two teaspoons, form dumplings and drop them into the simmering stew, spreading them out. Towards the end of the process, the pot may begin to seem crowded; give it a gentle stir as necessary. When all the dumplings are in the stew, give it another stir, flipping over any dumplings that are not submerged. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the parsley and the chives, and serve with freshly ground pepper.

Crushed Strawberry Sundae

INGREDIENTS:

For the meringues:

  • 3 egg whites from jumbo eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • A pinch of kosher salt
  • For the strawberries:
  • About 20 ripe strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons turbinado sugar, or to taste
  • 2 pinches of kosher salt

For the vanilla cream:

  • cup heavy cream
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar or honey, or to taste
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and seeds removed by scraping with a sharp knife

METHOD:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with half the sugar at medium speed until they are foamy. Beat in the remaining sugar, the cream of tartar, and the pinch of salt until the egg whites are shiny and stiff. Spoon the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment to form 12 to 14 mounds and bake for 30 minutes. Continue to bake for an additional hour with the oven door slightly ajar. When done, the meringues will be crisp and dry on the outside and tender and fluffy within. (Serve within 4 hours.)

Place the strawberries in a medium bowl and sprinkle with the sugar and salt. Crush them with a potato masher or large fork until they are juicy and a spoonable consistency, but still chunky. Let the strawberries sit for 15 minutes before serving.

In the meantime, combine the cream, the sugar or honey, and the vanilla seeds and pulp in a medium bowl (save the vanilla pod for another use) and with a whisk or an electric mixer, whip the cream until it is thickened and softly set, but not firm.

To serve, arrange the meringues, strawberries and juice, and the cream in layers on a platter or individual plates.

So, how did Andrea Fare in our "How Low Can You Go?" competition?!

Cost of the ingredients she used: $38.73

Our Leaders Board so far this year:

1.Marco Canora $36.33

Hearth

2.Michael Psilakis $36.56

MP Taverna

3. Michael Lomonaco $36.82

Porter House

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