Don't fricassee out! This chicken's easy.

Sometimes you don't just want it, you need it. Comfort food can ease the stress of a bad day like nothing else. For me, one of the best comfort foods is chicken and dumplings. The following is a homemade recipe that will fill your house with good smells, and your soul with good feelings. CHICKEN FRICASSEE WITH APPLE JUICE AND DUMPLINGS Makes 4 to 6 servings Use a large Dutch oven or casserole to have enough space to fit all of the dumplings on top. Don't peek when the dumplings are steaming; quickly spoon a bit of chicken liquid over them and then immediately put the lid back on so they can cook through. Chicken: 1/4 cup all-purpose flour salt and freshly ground black pepper 3 pounds chicken legs and thighs 1/4 cup olive oil 4 leeks, cleaned, thinly sliced (light green and white part only) 2 medium onions, thinly sliced 6 carrots, sliced 4 celery ribs, sliced 2 medium red apples, peeled, sliced 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill 3 cups chicken broth 1 cup apple juice salt and freshly ground black pepper

Dumplings: 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1/3 cup cornmeal 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill 3 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening 1 cup milk To make the chicken: In a large plastic bag combine the flour, salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the flour. In a large Dutch oven heat the 3 tablespoons of oil on medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the chicken and brown about 5 minutes a side. Transfer chicken to a bowl. Add the remaining oil to the Dutch oven and heat over medium. Add the leeks and onion. Saut for 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly browned, scraping up the brown bits. Add the carrots, celery and apple slices to pot. Cook another 3 to 5 minutes or until slightly softened. Add the dill, broth and apple juice. Bring to a simmer. Return the chicken pieces to the pan. Cover and cook 15 more minutes. While the chicken is cooking, make the dumpling batter: In a bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and dill. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the shortening. Add the milk, stirring with a fork to just blend the dough together. It should resemble a rough mass. With an ice cream scooper or large tablespoon, scoop out the dumplings and place over the chicken pieces (there should be about 6 to 8 dumplings). Cover pot and cook on a low simmer for 15 to 18 minutes, carefully spooning some cooking juices over the dumplings once or twice. The dumplings are done when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve the chicken pieces with a dumpling or two. PER SERVING: 600 calories; 35 g protein; 65 g carbohydrates; 7 g fiber; 23 g fat (5 g saturated); 109 mg cholesterol; 451 mg sodium.