Friday, March 6, 2009

Chicken & Dumplings

I haven't had chicken and dumplings since I went gluten free almost 8 years ago. For some reason, it never occurred to me to try to make this great southern classic until I recently discovered the 123 Gluten Free Buttermilk Biscuit mix. I suddenly remembered that dumpling dough is pretty much the same as biscuit dough, so I went for it. Plus, I've recently seen people using smoked paprika on lots of cooking shows and decided to check out the trend - the smoked paprika really brought a nice depth of flavor to the dish. This turned out perfectly. If you are GF and need a comfort food, this is a great one! 


Ingredients:
  • Whole Chicken, roasted and stripped of meat
  • Brine
    • Apple Cider
    • Sage
    • Thyme
    • Rosemary
    • Smoked Paprika
    • Kosher Salt
    • Black Pepper
    • Garlic Salt
    • Celery Salt
    • Juniper Berries
  • Stock
    • Carcass and bones from brined chicken
    • Water
    • Celery
    • Onion
    • Carrot
    • Sage
    • Rosemary
    • Thyme
    • Black Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Carrot
  • Dumplings
    • 123 Gluten Free Mix, follow box directions

Procedure:
I went all out with this one. I started by brining the chicken. To make the brine, I combined the ingredients in a large pot, simmered for about half an hour, let it cool, then covered a whole chicken with the brine and let it sit for about a day. Once brined, I broke down the chicken - see this great video for how to break down a chicken. I seasoned some chopped vegetables with smoked paprika, salt, and pepper, and lined a baking pan with them. I finely chopped some garlic with rosemary and sage, stuffed the mixture under the skin of the chicken, and put the chicken on top of the vegetables. That all went in a 425 degree oven for about 45 minutes to roast.

I ate some of the chicken for dinner, but saved most of it. The next day, I started a stock using the carcass and wings of the chicken, the roasted vegetables, and some fresh herbs. While that simmered, I stripped all of the meat from the roasted chicken and added the bones to the stock. After the stock simmered for about 3 hours, I strained it. 

The stock went back in the pot, and I added some fresh carrots and celery. While that started to simmer, I followed the directions on the 123 Gluten Free buttermilk biscuit mix box to make the dough. I rolled the dough into small balls about half an inch in diameter. The chicken meat was then added to the soup and the soup was brought to a boil. I dropped the dumplings into the boiling broth one by one, being careful to space them out so they wouldn't stick together. They would drop to the bottom then rise after about 2 minutes, as they started to cook. After I added what seemed like a good amount of dumplings, I let them cook for about 15 minutes. While they finished I made biscuits out of the leftover dough. Once the dumplings were cooked through, I turned off the heat and the soup was done!

Resulting Deliciousness:
This was the best soup I've ever made. Chicken and dumplings are a great southern comfort food that I hadn't had for about a decade. The texture of the soup was perfect and the flavor was fantastic. You could really taste the garlic and smoked paprika in the pieces of chicken. The dumplings took on the flavor of the soup nicely and turned out really well. While this turned out to be one of the best all around dishes I've ever made, I think the dumplings could be improved by adding herbs or some other seasoning to the dough and making them thin strips instead of balls. You could definitely make a simpler version with diced chicken breast and store bought stock instead of the whole brining-roasting-stock making procedure, but I think the incredible flavor was well worth it.
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