Saturday, December 6, 2008

Shell's Vegetable Stew with Dumplings

Today was a chilly Saturday in Maryland and all I wanted was some comfort food, a fire in the fireplace and a hot beverage. It's snowing right now which is cool.

I love the IDEA of a nice, thick stew... it opitimizes "comfort food", but I really hate all the meat, especially beef. I can tolerate chicken. I've always wanted a good veggie stew but I've never liked any of the recipes I found. I totally made this recipe up... and surprisingly, it's fantastic! Please note, THIS IS NOT A VEGETARIAN RECIPE. There isn't any meat but it uses chicken broth. I have found using vegetable broth just doesn't have the same flavor but it's still good! If you're a vegetarian this is a fine option. For Vegans, just use olive oil to cook the onions and omit the dumplings since they have dairy. You could substitute soymilk and margarine for the milk and butter in the dumplings, but I haven't actually tried this.

I'm sure you could double the recipe and freeze half of it but I haven't actually tried this either.

The first dumpling recipe is more dense and drier. The second is a little more doughy. I prefer to the doughier one but the hubby prefers the dense one.

Here's what you'll need...

1 small/medium onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2-2 cups of butternut squash peeled and cut into bite-size cubes
1 14-oz can of dark red kidney beans (rinse)
1 14-oz can of garbanzo beans (or chick peas... same thing... rinse)
1 1/2-cups of peas (fresh or frozen)
1 32-oz carton of chicken broth
salt & pepper
1 bay leaf
couple big pinches of thyme (maybe 1/2 tsp or less?)
couple big pinches of basil
pinch of dill
2 Tbs ( or so) of flour to thicken (you may need more)... I suppose corn starch would work as well but then Martha Stewart would cringe.

2/3 cup of baking mix (like Bisquick)
1/3 cup of yellow corn meal
1/4 shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk
salt & pepper

  • Heat up a little olive oil or butter in a soup pot and add the onion. Cook until translucent.
  • Add the garlic and butternut squash and cook for a few minutes.
  • Add the kidney beans, garbanzo beans, chicken broth and spices (not the flour). Bring to a boil.
  • Ladle out a little liquid into a cup and and sprinkle the flour in it. Mix well until dissolved and pour back in the soup.
  • Reduce and simmer for 10 minutes (or until you're done mixing up the dumplings).
  • Mix all the ingredients for the dumplings until just moistened.
  • Drop spoonfuls of dumpling mix into the stew... about 8. Cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Ladle soup into bowls with a couple dumplings per person.
  • Serves 4-6 people.
If you prefer more "doughy" dumplings use this:

1/2 cup of milk
1/2 stick of butter (4 Tbs)
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 egg (beaten)
salt & pepper
  • Heat the milk and butter in a small sauce pan until it boils. Remove from heat.
  • Add the flour, salt and pepper and mix until it all starts to stick together.
  • Add the egg and mix quickly.
  • Drop spoonfuls of dough into the soup (you'll get about 6-8)
  • Cover and simmer soup until they rise to the top (about 10-15 minutes or so)

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