Some things are meant to be.

It’s an enduring partnership, as connected in the mind as salt and pepper or peanut butter and jelly. Who doesn’t instantly respond with “dumplings” when you hear, “chicken and ____”? The question is, when was the last time you made chicken and dumplings? Or tried a new recipe? It’s time for a fresh, new take for this classic combo. Something savory. Something bold. Even colorful. A good start is to dust off the notion that dumplings are always made from wheat flour.

Masa magnífico.

“Masa” is the Spanish word for dough and can also mean the commonly used corn-based flour in Mexico and Central and South America. Though it’s corn, masa is not the yellow cornmeal you use to make cornbread. Also known as masa harina, this finely ground white flour is made from corn that’s been soaked in limewater. Lime in this case refers not to the small green fruit but originally limestone. Today this kind of lime is known as Cal in Mexico or pickling lime in America. And why did people soak the corn kernels in limewater in the first place? Traditionally, it made the hand-grinding process easier because the lime helps dissolve the tough exterior surface of the corn kernel and also served as a preservative for the harvested grain.

Masa harina is used to make all kinds of favorite foods such as tortillas and tamales. Its distinctive flavor is an important addition to this recipe for Posole Chicken with Masa Dumplings, and the recipe also calls for hominy. It’s corn as well, this time whole kernel, also soaked in limewater. Chorizo sausage gives this posole style stew a rich, hearty flavor.

Dumplings by the dozen.

Masa harina is very easy to work with, and dumplings are simple to make. Once you’ve mixed together the ingredients for the dumplings, simply drop large spoonfuls of dough into the hot stew. They’ll cook in about 15 minutes, and you’ll want to let the dumplings steam long enough so they’re not doughy inside. And that’s it. You can easily double the recipe for a festive feast with family and friends.

Comfort food suitable for a celebration.

New Mexico is famous for posole during the holiday season, and for good reason. It’s not only delicious and can be made ahead of time, but the deep, rich color also contributes a festive feeling to seasonal get-togethers. Whether you’re cooking for a family weeknight meal or planning for a party, Posole Chicken with Masa Dumplings comes together much quicker than traditional slow cooked posole. You’ll love this chicken and dumplings do-over as hearty new crowd-pleaser for any occasion.