I have never eaten stew with dumplings but when I saw the recipe and enticing photo in Isa Chandra’s cookbook Isa Does it, I had to make them. At first I wasn’t sure what to think of these little fluffy lumps of dough floating in a savoury stew but my tummy figured out pretty quickly that this was a great thing. Isa’s recipe takes about one hour from start to finish and is really very straightforward. I embellished a little by adding extra veggies, but essentially this is how Isa does it.
For the stew
3 Tbsp vegan margarine
¼ cup flour
1 medium onion diced
3 cloves garlic minced
6 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp salt
A few grinds of black pepper
2 ribs celery
2 carrots cut into coins or half moons
1 ½ cups cooked navy beans (that’s a 15oz can drained and rinsed)
1 ½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes cut into chunks (2 medium potatoes)
½ cup frozen or fresh peas
½ cup cremini mushrooms chopped
1 tsp dried thyme (or 1 Tbsp fresh)
2 Tbsp fresh dill (or 2 tsp dried – but seriously try to get fresh for this one)
½ tsp paprika
1 Tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
For the dumplings
1 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp dried rosemary (or 1 Tbsp fresh finely chopped) OR 1 tsp poultry seasoning
¾ cup unsweetened plant milk (almond, soy etc)
2 Tbsp olive oil
Melt the margarine on medium heat in a large, wide pot that has a tightly fitting lid. Add the flour and heat through to make a soft roux – stir constantly for a couple minutes to cook out the raw flour taste but without burning the roux. Add the onions and garlic and sauté together for about 5 minutes.
Add the broth and stir constantly using a whisk so that the flour is incorporated evenly and lump free.
Add all the other ingredients and bring the pot to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce to a simmer and simmer for 25 minutes. Stir a few times during cooking. The stew is done when it’s nicely thickened and the potatoes and carrots are easily pierced with a fork.
While the stew is simmering, make the dumpling batter.
In a small bowl, sift in the dry ingredients. Okay, not going to sift? At least sift in the baking powder so you don’t end up with salty, crystalline lumps in your batter. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Stir everything to combine – you will have a rather ugly looking batter and that’s okay.
When the stew is done simmering, drop the batter by spoonfuls on top of the hot stew. I got 16 dumplings that completely covered the top of the stew.
Put the lid on the stew pot and let the pot simmer for another 14 minutes. No peeking! It’s the steam in the pot that cooks the dumplings. They will puff up and be nice and firm to the touch when they’re cooked, but will be cakelike on the inside.
Ladle the stew and dumplings out in a bowl. This dish makes 4 very satisfying servings and will last up to 3 days in the fridge. It makes great, microwavable leftovers.