The Urban Dictionary defines chicken and dumplings as "The best food ever. It is best served with more dumplings than chicken."
I don't always agree with the definitions in the Urban Dictionary, but in this case, I totally agree. I'm 100 percent Southern, so I was raised eating chicken and dumplings--the greatest comfort food of all time. When I had to start eating gluten free, I was so upset because I couldn't find a suitable gluten-free equivalent of my mom's delicious recipe.
While visiting a dedicated gluten-free bakery this summer, I spotted a gluten free chicken and dumpling mix and decided I had to try it. Everything in the bakery was incredible and I was certain the mix wouldn't be any different. I bought it and put it in the pantry where it promptly got pushed to the back. I honestly forgot about it until my daughter announced that all she wanted for her 12th birthday was chicken and dumplings. My lil' southern belle wanted nothing more than a popular comfort food dish that I knew I couldn't make, then I remembered the mix I bought at the gluten-free bakery. Problem solved! Um, not quite.
So, I have cataracts. Yes, I'm way too young for that, but it is what it is. I have a lot of trouble seeing tiny print on the back of packages, so I routinely have the kids read ingredients and instructions to me when I can't see to do it myself. I had my son read the list of ingredients needed to make the dumpling mix and I thought I was good. I had everything I needed--everything except time.
With only 1 1/2 hours until the dinner party with both sets of grandparents in route, I finally heard the complete recipe instructions:
1. Mix ingredients and form dough into four balls. Let rest for 30 minutes. No problem.
2. Roll out dough and cut into strips. No problem.
3. Allow strips to dry for SEVERAL HOURS. BIG PROBLEM!
I didn't have several hours. I barely had several minutes, so I had to quickly come up with Plan B. My baby was having birthday dumplings one way or another.
Google to the rescue.
I googled gluten-free chicken and dumplings and found a recipe using gluten free Bisquick mix which I did not have and did not have time to buy. I did have Aldi's liveGfree Baking Mix in my pantry, so I substituted that and made a few other modifications to the online recipe using ingredients I had on hand. The result? Perfection! Even my mom said they were great! I think they were as good as her gluten-full recipe! I am so happy that I was able to grant the wish of my 12-year-old daughter and find a recipe that was worthy of being added to my family recipes cookbook, a handwritten recipe book given to me by my mother 18 years ago as a wedding gift.
After the dinner, I cleaned the kitchen and the gluten-free dumpling strips were finally dry, so I put them in the refrigerator and decided to try them the next day. I brought the broth to a boil, added the strips, and let them cook for one hour. They tasted fine, but were not the texture I was expecting and took way longer than this busy, working mother has time for. It's definitely not something I would buy again, especially since I found a great recipe that is super easy and really quick to make. Besides, my family prefers "drop" dumplings instead of "rolled-out" dumplings anyway.
Please let us know if you try to make the recipe below using gluten-free Bisquick. I'd love to know how it turns out. While reading the online recipe reviews, a few people commented that their dumplings (using gf Bisquick) didn't hold together and turned to mush. I didn't have that problem, but my mom has always told me to turn the burner to low and bring broth to a gentle boil before adding dumpling dough. A rolling boil will cause the dumplings to fall apart. Also, avoid stirring. That makes them fall apart, too.
Gluten Free Chicken and Dumplings
3 cups chicken broth (gluten free)
1 1/2 cups cut up cooked chicken
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 cup milk
3 Tbsp. corn starch
* Frozen vegetables-optional (I used carrots, onion and celery when boiling the chicken to make the broth, so I didn't add other vegetables)
3/4 cup Aldi's liveGfree Baking Mix
1/3 cup milk
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
In 3-quart sauce pan, heat broth, chicken, salt, and pepper to boiling. In small bowl, mix milk and cornstarch with whisk until smooth. Stir into broth. Heat until just boiling. In a mixing bowl, stir dumpling ingredients (baking mix, milk, butter and egg) with fork until blended. Gently drop dough by 1/2 teaspoon fulls into boiling chicken mixture. Cook uncovered on low for 10 minutes. Cover and cook 10-12 minutes longer. Serves 2. My advice: double the recipe. You'll be glad you did!