Do not try this at home!

January 27, 2014

Looks better than it tastes. I promise.

Looks better than it tastes. I promise.

Not that it’s dangerous, or anything. But it’s a waste of time, trouble, effort, and chicken broth.

This is an attempt…a mere attempt….at gluten-free chicken and dumplings.

Don’t bother. Either consign them to the realm of things you can’t eat, or, if you’re like me, make it your splurge of the week, and deal with the temporary effects. But unless you are seriously jonesing for some chicken and dumplings, don’t bother trying to make these with gluten-free subs for the tried-and-true dumpling.

Because these? These are not your mama’s chicken and dumplings. These are not chicken and dumplings your mama would have fed to the dog. They weren’t horrible — they were just — well, they had that grainy texture that gluten-free flours seem to impart. And the part of the dumpling that cooks off into the chicken broth to make that thick, glutinous sauce we love so well? It was grainy, too.

One’s chicken and dumplings should not be grainy. They should be silky, sensuously smooth, the thick sauce a a fluffy, satiny blanket for a toothsome dumpling and a shard of chicken.

I have always been a devotee of the flat style of dumplings — the ones that are rolled out and cut in strips about an inch wide and three inches long. Some of the best I’ve ever had were of pie crust dough, back in the days before gluten-free. Most were of a sort of biscuit-y dough, a little thicker and tougher, rolled a bit thinner (to maybe a half-inch), and puffing up when cooked. I’ve also had the “drop” dumplings, in which the biscuit-y dough is scooped up by the teaspoonful and dropped into the boiling stock. I’ve had the same style with canned biscuits, torn into thirds, and that worked, too.

All of ’em lay this gluten-free attempt in the shade.

I have, within the past few months, had both waffles and pancakes made with gluten-free Bisquick baking mix. Both were quite respectable, if not as good as the regular variety. (I have, in fact, had gluten-free pancakes at the Pfunky Griddle in Nashvegas which are every bit as good as the regular variety, and next time I’m up there, I need to ask them what flour blend they use.) I had biscuits made with the same Bisquick mix, though, and they were meh. Grainy. Would do if I was near death and wanted a biscuit and they were all that was available. Don’t hold a candle to, for instance, the Rudi’s gluten-free bread, toasted, with jam.

But they were good enough that when I laid out a chicken to thaw Saturday, Child A said, “Mama, you could boil that chicken and make us some chicken and dumplings.”

Now, I have never been an exceptional maker of chicken and dumplings. Tried ’em a few times and the sauce seemed to always wind up like wallpaper paste. Knowing a bit more about cooking now, I think I could probably make a decent pot of the regular kind. But I figured, particularly as I had already sinned with a full-gluten waffle after church, I’d give the GF ones a whirl.

Won’t be doing that again.

Hope the remains don’t freeze the garbage disposal into place.

The good news is, I saved back a good half of the chicken, hedging my bets against the likelihood the GF results would be less than stellar. I’m smart like that, sometimes. So there’s chicken spaghetti, or chicken enchiladas, or chicken soup, or chicken SOMETHING, out there in the future, since the remainder of that chicken has been vacuum sealed and is residing in the freezer As We Speak. (OK, OK, as we type and read. Literalist.) So if you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em show up unexpectedly, I will have the makings of a quick dinner in the freezer, and you will NOT catch me unprepared.

And if you’re nice, I won’t try to make it gluten-free when it ought not to be, either.


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