Start With the Broth
A pot of good chicken and dumplings always starts with an excellent broth, savory and thick, with an assortment of tender veggies and a smattering of fresh herbs.
This time my broth was extra special to me because nearly all the ingredients were home-grown and raised. I pulled fat orange carrots out of the dirt, still sweet in spite of their girth, cut off branches of leafy celery, and gathered handfuls of plump sugar snap peas. I plucked bay leaves from my bay tree and used homemade chicken broth I made and froze earlier this year. It felt so good to have these things on hand to cook with.
To make a hearty gluten free broth, simply fry chopped onion, carrot, and celery in the cooking oil of you choice for 2-3 minutes. Add chicken broth, peppercorns, and salt, and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add in sliced or chopped chicken if you want to avoid de-boning later, or whole chicken pieces for especially good flavor. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until chicken is cooked through, then remove chicken to a platter.
At this point you can thicken your broth with a gluten free flour of your choosing, or cornstarch. I used coconut flour to thicken my broth, simply because really like how coconut flour and chicken broth taste together, giving the sauce an almost Thai flavor. To thicken the broth, make a paste of coconut flour, a few ladles of broth, salt, and pepper, then whisk it into the pot and allow to simmer and thicken while you prepare the dumplings.
Craft the Dumplings
Dumplings are so easy to make. When I make gluten free dumplings, I use a combination of whatever gluten free flours I have on hand. This time my larder was rather lean so I used coconut flour and cornstarch, salt, pepper, chopped fresh dill, melted butter, and full cream milk, whisking everything together to form a thick dough. I turned to the garden for this, too, snipping a bowl of fresh dill fronds from the dill forest to season the delicate dough. There's something about dill that pairs beautifully with bready things.
When the dumpling dough is ready, reduce the heat on the broth to a low simmer. This is essential. Gluten free dumplings are more tender and fragile than traditional ones, and the fierce bubbling will disintegrate them. On the bright side, even if they do disintegrate, they simply make a thicker stew that is downright delicious. So keep that heat low, gently lower the dumplings by spoonful into the broth, and let them simmer gently for about 10 minutes until cooked through.
When ready, divide the chicken pieces among bowls, and ladle over the broth and dumplings. If you like, provide more chopped fresh dill to sprinkle over the top.
Gluten Free Chicken and Dumplings
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 whole onion, peeled, trimmed and chopped
- 3 carrots, washed and sliced
- 3 stalks celery, trimmed and sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 2-3 chicken breasts, sliced
- 1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed and sliced
- 1/2 cup coconut flour (or other gluten-free flour)
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup gluten free flour
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
- 1 egg, optional
In large soup pot, heat cooking oil over medium high heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery and fry gently 2-3 minutes. Add chicken broth, salt, peppercorns, chicken, and sugar snap peas. Simmer 15-20 minutes until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender. Remove chicken to platter.
In small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup gluten free flour, salt, pepper, and 2 ladles of soup broth until smooth. Scrape into broth and whisk well. Return to simmer and let thicken 5-10 minutes.
In medium bowl stir together 1 cup gluten-free flour, salt, pepper, melted butter, milk, fresh dill, and egg (if using) until a thick dough forms.
Reduce heat under chicken broth until barely simmering, then gently drop in spoonfuls of dumpling dough and cook about 10 minutes until cooked through.
Divide the chicken pieces among bowls, and ladle over the broth and dumplings. If you like, provide more chopped fresh dill to sprinkle over the top.