Until recently, chicken and dumplings weren't part of my life. I was like Olaf from Frozen-- who loves the idea of summer but had never experienced it. Chicken and dumplings sounded amazing but I just never got around to making them. It was time for that to change! Thankfully this winter, full of polar vortexes, gave me the chance!
Although I'd never made (or eaten!) chicken and dumpling, I'd read about them plenty. So I knew there were two kinds of dumplings, fluffy and “slick,” I wanted to make the fluffy variety simply because slick dumplings sound like noodles. As an Italian, I already eat a lot of noodles. A lot. Fluffy dumplings it had to be!
One freezing day, I made a huge pot of chicken stock. If I was going to make homemade chicken and dumplings, I wanted to start with good, flavorful stock. The next night, I set out to make the dumplings. It was remarkably easy. I cobbled together several “chicken and dumpling” recipes I found from trusted sources. Into the pot went carrots, celery, onion, and chicken thighs along with the homemade chicken stock. After an hour or so of cooking, it was time to shred the chicken and make the dumplings.
The batter came together easily. I mixed a basic gluten-free flour blend containing white rice flour, sweet rice flour, and cornstarch. Then I stirred in an egg and milk. Easy peasy. I then let the batter stand for about three minutes. When I went to drop the dumpling batter onto the soup, it surprised me to see how much the batter rose. I was afraid for a moment that I'd used too much baking powder and that the dumplings would taste bitter. I dropped the batter onto the soup and cover the pot. All the chicken and dumpling experts said that it was imperative not to peek as the dumplings cooked.So I didn't. (I wanted to, however.) My biggest worry was the the dumplings were going to dissolve. Without the sticky gluten to hold everything together, I knew this was a possibility. But I needed to wait and see!
Twenty minutes later, the timer rang. I removed the lid from the pot and found...the dumplings sitting on top of the soup! I breathed a sigh of relief! I scoop some into a bowl and took a bite. Oh.my.god. It tasted so good. The dumplings were light and fluffy. And the best part was the chicken soup hidden underneath. So much flavor!
Since then, I've made chicken and dumplings several times. I experimented with using less baking powder. Those attempts left me with sad, heavy dumplings. So don't worry about the batter rising up, that's normal and necessary for light dumplings. Now that I've experienced chicken and dumplings, there's no going back. This recipe earned a regular rotation in my winter, comfort food collection.