Thursday, October 11, 2012

Easy Chicken and Dumplings

After the dumplings are done remove the pot from heat & stir in chicken & peas & carrots. I like to serve it with toasted italian bread.

Having to go dairy-free can really be challenging at times.  I don't know how many dishes that I really really love that I have had to either give up or find work arounds for.  I've had to give up lasagne, stuffed shells, and ravioli's.  If you could only see my keyboard you would see the tear stains on it from having to type those precious words.  I've dairy-free cheeses and Daiya isn't bad but it's not the same as the real stuff.  Browsing through blogs one day I found a great recipe for old fashioned chicken and dumplings and my mouth was watering just from the picture.  Well, as the story of my life has been going lately I looked at the ingredients and found that it milk and butter were two of the ingredients in the dumplings.

I didn't tell my family but I decided to experiment on them.  In my house that happens a lot but I'm just smart enough not to let tell them what I'm doing.  I grew up in a house with a father that wasn't too keen on being used as a guinea pig.  So I've learned it's better to keep your mouth shut and feel really good when they start to praise you on how delicious dinner is.

For this recipe I got a little help from a great book called The Complete Guide to Vegan Substitutions by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman.  One of the dairy substitutions that she lists for heavy whipping cream and whole milk is a can of unsweetened coconut milk and for the butter Earth Balance vegan butter sticks.  I used both and it was AMAZING!!!  My biggest fear was that the taste of the coconut milk would be noticeable and thankfully that wasn't the case.

The one thing that I will warn you about is that even though it is a pretty quick recipe, you can use a pre-cooked roast chicken, the most time consuming part of this recipe is cutting up the dumplings.  But it is well worth it because this is super yummy!!!  The original recipe can be found on the Tasty Kitchen blog.

Chicken & Dumplings (Dairy-Free version)
8 Servings

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
2 tbsp Earth Balance Non-dairy butter sticks
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
2 quarts chicken broth
2 whole cooked chickens (meat removed)
2 cans peas and carrots cooked and drained

1.  In a large mixing bowl add the flour and baking powder.  Using a pastry blender or two forks cut the Earth Balance butter sticks into the flour until the dough looks crumbly.
In a bowl mix together flour & baking powder & then cut in Earth Balance using pastry blender or two forks. 

2.  Next mix in 1 cup canned unsweetened full fat coconut milk and a pinch of salt.
Add coconut milk & pinch of salt. This would be a good time to pour chicken broth into a stockpot & bring to a boil over med-high heat.

3.  On a well floured counter and rolling pin roll out dough, the more flour you use the better and don't worry it will help thicken the broth.
Heavily flour counter & roll out dough to about 1/2" thick. Using a pastry cutter, pizza cutter or a knife cut dough into small squares.

3.  In a large stockpot, over medium heat, add all of the chicken broth and bring to a boil.  In a separate pot cook the peas and carrots.

4.  Using a pastry cutter, pizza cutter or knife cut the dough into little squares.  Using a spatula, or the blade of a pastry cutter, layer the cut dumplings on a heavily floured plate.  And remember don't go easy on the flour between the layers!  In this instance more is better!
My little helpers job was to put the dumplings we cut onto a floured plate. Add flour between layers otherwise they will stick. Don't worry about using too much flour because it will thicken the soup.
My little helper whose job was to take the dumplings I had cut and
put them on the floured plate.

5.  Once the broth is at a boil start dropping the dumplings with the flour into the stockpot and cook all dumplings for, stirring gently, for 15-20 minutes or until they are no longer dough tasting.
Add dumplings one at a time to boiling broth & cook for 15-20 minutes or until the dumplings don't taste doughy. Make sure you stir it so the dumplings don't stick.

6.  Next add the cooked chicken and vegetables and mix well.
After the dumplings are done remove the pot from heat & stir in chicken & peas & carrots. I like to serve it with toasted italian bread.

7.  Finally enjoy!!!