Chicken 'n' dumplings....these are so good, I almost feel that they don't need an introduction. It's hard to find comfort food as good as this.
Since I've had to go temporarily wheat-free, I've been without my chicken 'n' dumplings...and cakes...cookies...bread...pasta...basically everything that is good in the culinary world. But that's okay! Why? Because I figured out how to make my favorite chicken 'n' dumplings in such a way that I could enjoy it. And enjoy it I did... :-) I'm still full!
A note before I get started. I'm including the original recipe at the bottom, for all of you who are lucky enough to be able to eat flour. In the tutorial, however, I'm going to describe how I made it (wheat free and dairy free!). It will be pretty similar (except for whole flour part). This recipe is not gluten free (I added a small amount of gluten to help with the texture), although I imagine that it could be done with a few modifications!
And...have you entered to win a free cookbook? If not, you should!
The base for chicken 'n' dumplings is none other than cooked chicken and chicken stock. You could go to the store and buy these things...or you could make it yourself! My suggestion - pull out your slow cooker, buy yourself a chicken, and do it yourself. Your taste buds (and budget) will thank you.
To make the dumplings, I used 2 cups of Bob's Red Mill gluten free all-purpose baking flour. Because this flour doesn't have gluten in it, it doesn't hold as well as wheat flour does. To combat that I added 4 teaspoons of gluten! This is obviously not ideal for someone on a gluten free diet; however, it does work for those of us who just need to avoid wheat and don't have a problem with gluten. A gluten free option would be to add xantham gum.
The original recipe calls for self-rising flour. In order to make my wheat-free mixture self-rising, I added 3 teaspoons of baking powder and 1 teaspoon of salt. I then added 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.
Whisk these dry ingredients together, and then add some fat. :-) Tried and true Southern cooks prefer vegetable shortening. I prefer Smart Balance Light (dairy-free)...I like to go easy on the hips, if you haven't noticed.
Add 1/3 cup of the fattener of your choice and then cut it into the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs.
Now we are going to add some buttermilk to our flour mixture. I'm going the dairy free route, so I mixed a little under 3/4 cup of almond milk with about a tablespoon of vinegar. It looked questionable, but it did the trick.
Otherwise (for all you "normal" people out there), pour 3/4 cup buttermilk into your flour.
Stir everything together with a fork until it forms a soft dough (like the picture below). If you need to, add extra flour to get it to that point.
On a floured surface, roll out your dough until it's about 1/4 inch thick.
Then, using a table knife, cut it into little squares (mine were about 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch).
At this point, bring 4 cups of your chicken stock to a boil. Drop your dumplings, one at a time (to avoid sticking), into the boiling stock.
While you are dropping your dumplings in, make sure you are stirring everything around. If you are trying to take pictures while doing it, get my husband to help you stir...he's good at that.
Once your dumplings are all in, add 4 cups of cooked chicken. Don't stir the chicken in - let it sit on top of the dumplings. By sitting on top of the dumplings, the chicken forces the dumplings into the broth and makes sure they get cooked. That's some pretty smart chicken!
On top of your chicken, pour 1 cup of milk (or milk substitute).
At this point, you want to cover your pot, reduce the heat to about medium-low, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes so that the dumplings can cook. At that point, you can add more milk if it's too dry...otherwise, you are ready to eat!
I loved these, even with the wheat-free alterations! Just in case my taste buds were warped from wheat-deprivation, I made my husband try them...he loved them too! This is an easy meal to make, only takes about 30 minutes from start to finish, and will feed a crowd for very little cost. Why wouldn't you want to try it? :-)
Chicken 'n' Dumplings (the normal way)
2 cups self-rising flour (or 2 cups all-purpose flour plus 3 t. baking powder and 1/2 t. salt)
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. sugar
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup Smart Balance Light or shortening
3/4 cup buttermilk (see instructions above for dairy-free substitute)
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups cooked chicken
1 cup milk or milk substitute
Mix together flour salt, sugar, and black pepper. Add Smart Balance Light or shortening and cut in with a pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 3/4 cup buttermilk; stir with a fork until soft dough forms (adding more flour if necessary). Roll onto a floured surface until 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 1/2 inch squares with table knife.
Drop dumplings one at a time into 4 cups of boiling chicken stock, stirring constantly. Place 4 cups of cooked chicken over the top of the dumplings. Pour 1 cup milk over chicken. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low; simmer for 20 minutes, or until dumplings are cooked. Serves 10.
Nutrition (calculated with Smart Balance Light, low fat buttermilk, and skim milk): 267 cal, 8g fat, 2g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 51mg cholesterol, 682mg sodium, 24g carbs, 1g fiber, 4g sugar, 22g protein, 11% vit. A, 1% vit. C, 17% calcium, 11% iron.
This recipe is linked to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday , Tasty Tuesday, and Tuesdays at the Table