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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Gluten Free Chicken and Dumplings

I have a thing about using up every bit of food possible. If you were to come to my house and dig in my freezer, you would find containers of leftover meats, bags of fruit and vegetable pieces and peels, (which are great for broths) chicken wing tips, fat trimmed from roasts, breads butts, corn cobs, and a variety of other scraps that I find a way to use. I just can't bring myself to toss out perfectly usable groceries.
I roasted a chicken on Sunday, and being the scrap hoarder that I am, I saved the carcass to make broth of course.

Last night, I decided that my chicken carcass was destined to become chicken and dumplings. Chance had the flu all weekend, and he went back to school today for the first time since Thursday,so I wanted to have one of his favorite comfort food meals waiting for him when he finishes attacking the piles of homework that I know he will need to make up.

I used vegetable scraps and peels from the freezer in my broth this time, but the recipe shows what I would have used otherwise.
You can also use ready made broth, and just add the chicken.

Ingredients for broth:
1 chicken carcass (or a whole chicken, quartered)
1 onion cut into wedges
3 stalks of celery, cut into large chunks
3 bay leaves
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
2 carrots
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar (this draws vitamins like magnesium and calcium out of the bones. Omit if you aren't using a carcass or whole chicken)
1 tsp peppercorns
2 gluten free chicken bouillon cubes, or equivalent in granules ( I use Herb Ox
2-3 cups chicken, cooked and chopped (omit if using whole chicken)

Ingredients for dumplings:
3 C all-purpose gluten free flour blend ( I used Krusteaz)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 TBL cold butter, cubed
1 C milk

1. Place everything except for the cooked chicken, (that gets added later) into a large soup pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 3-5 hours.

2. Remove from heat and strain into a large bowl. You can toss the vegetables, or put them back them in the broth. Put your broth into the fridge so that you can skim the fat off when it cools. 

3. Pick all of the meat from the chicken and set aside in the fridge to add to the broth later. You'll want about 3 cups of chopped up chicken. If I am using a carcass, I usually bake 2 or 3 boneless breasts to use since there isn't much meat on a carcass.

4. Once you have skimmed the fat from the broth, return it to the stove and bring it to a simmer. Add your chicken, bouillon, salt and pepper. 

5. In a medium bowl, combine your flour, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers in a snapping motion, cut butter into flour until it is a sandy consistency. Add milk slowly, stirring just until everything is wet and it forms a ball. It should be slightly sticky. You might not need to use all of the milk, or you may need a bit more. 

6. Sprinkle a good bit of flour on your rolling surface, sprinkle a bit more on top of your dough, and using a floured rolling pin, start in the middle and roll your dough out to 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Use a pizza cutter to cut it into roughly 2 inch square dumplings. 

7. Bring your broth to a low boil again, and add your dumplings to the boiling broth slowly. Don't worry about any flour on the dumplings, it will help to thicken your broth. Lower heat to a simmer after all dumplings have been added. 
Don't over stir after adding the dumplings. I usually just give it a swirl or 2 with my spoon to submerge the dumplings.
At this point, you can slowly add up to 1 C. of milk to your broth, if you want. Sometimes I do, other times, I don't. This time I didn't.

8. Cook your dumplings for about 5-10 minutes.  Add a teaspoon of chopped parsley leaves before serving if you want, for appearance.

Ladle into bowls, and enjoy.

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