One of my daughter’s favorite meals is a slow cooker version of chicken and dumplings that I used to make quite often for mid-week dinners. It’s super easy and super delicious.
But it also includes canned biscuits, canned cream of chicken and cream of celery soups, and two bouillon cubes for flavor. So it’s high in sodium and other processed food ingredients, things we’re trying to cut way back on these days.
I tried to substitute this meal with a straight-forward chicken soup with big chunks of carrots, celery, peas, and onions. And while the result was good, it lacked the “comfort” factor that chicken and dumplings brings to the dinner table.
I wanted cream.
And I wanted dumplings.
So I hunkered down and did some research.
After studying several different chicken soup and chicken and dumplings recipes, and after learning how to thicken without wheat flour and dairy, I came up with this:
And it’s a winner, people! It still takes less than 30 minutes to put together (not including cooking time), I can make it in my slow cooker, and it brings the oh-so-desired comfort factor to the table. And the dumplings? I discovered that parsnips work as a wonderful substitute, so I won’t be needing those anymore!
My kids loved it and so did the hubs.
And an added bonus is that after transporting the soup to a dutch oven stove-top to thicken it before serving (don’t freak out, this takes no time at all), I threw the carcass of the whole chicken, some onions, carrots, celery, and herbs into the slow cooker, filled it with water, and cooked it all night long.
Here’s what you need:
Add the chicken broth. Cook on low for 4-6 hours, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees. After the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the slow cooker and let it rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes or longer until it is cool enough to handle. (I over cooked my first whole chicken, so it fell apart on me as I lifted it out of the slow cooker, so be careful not to over cook this.)
While the chicken is cooling, transfer the broth and vegetables to a dutch oven on the stove. Bring it to a boil. In a separate bowl, mix the arrowroot powder and cool water until it is combined. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pull the chicken off the bone and add the meat to the broth, reserving the carcass for later use to make broth.
Then stir in the coconut milk.
Adjust seasoning to taste. And serve!
1/2 Yellow Onion, diced
4 Large Parsnips, peeled and sliced
4 Large Carrots or 4 Handfuls Baby Carrots, sliced
2 Stalks Celery, sliced
Herb de Provence
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
4 Lb Organic, Whole Chicken, rinsed and patted dry
6 Cups Organic, Low Sodium Chicken Broth (or make your own)
1/2 Cup Arrowroot Powder
1/2 Cup Cool Water
1 1/2 Cups Full Fat Coconut Milk or Coconut Cream
2 Cups Frozen Peas, cooked
Take sliced carrots, parsnips, celery, and diced onions and lay them in the bottom of your slow cooker. Season them to taste with salt, pepper, and Herb de Provence, and add the garlic cloves.
Generously season the chicken, both inside and out, with salt, pepper, and Herb de Provence. Lay the chicken, breast side down on top of the vegetables. Add the chicken broth. Cook on low for 4-6 hours, until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees. After the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the slow cooker and let it rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes or longer until it is cool enough to handle.
While the chicken is cooling, transfer the broth and vegetables to a dutch oven on the stove. Bring it to a boil. In a separate bowl, mix the arrowroot powder and cool water until it is combined. When the broth reaches a boil, add the arrowroot powder and water mixture to the broth, stirring occasionally until the liquid is bubbly and thick, about 10-15 minutes. Then stir in the coconut milk. Add peas. Adjust seasoning to taste. And serve.
While you are waiting for the broth to boil stove top, throw the chicken carcass, and an onion, two carrots, and two stalks of celery (all sliced into big chunks) into the slow cooker. Add some thyme, parsley, a bay leaf, and salt. Then fill the slow cooker to the top with water. Cook on low for 10 hours. Remove the carcass, vegetables, and herbs from the stock, and run the stock through a strainer. You can freeze the stock (in ice cube trays, one cup, or 32 oz increments would be super handy) or store it in the refrigerator. If you go the refrigerator route, be sure to use the stock within a week to ensure that it doesn’t go bad. Canning is also an option, but this where my advice stops! I am NOT a canning expert, so I hesitate to provide any advice in this arena due to the food safety issues associated with it.
And lots of broth.
Not bad for 30 minutes of work in the kitchen!