Monday, October 24, 2011

"Vegetarian" Chicken & Dumplings

Sometimes, I like to pretend like I'm a vegetarian.  

But I'm not all that great at pretending; even this dish uses a chicken-based stock.  (It can be made completely vegetarian by substituting a vegetable stock.)  The end result retains the best parts about chicken and dumplings (the flavor, the colorful tender veggies, the moist-but-not-gummy dumplings), without the use of actual poultry.  Truth be told, I like it both ways, but today I was feeling lazy and this meatless version suited me just fine. 

Hands-down, this is the best dumpling recipe I've ever found.  My family has suffered through countless batches of bad, pasty dumplings.  Have you ever watched a dog eat peanut butter?  That's the way we all used to look trying to get the other dumplings unstuck from the top of our mouths.  But these.  These are wonderful dumplings.

To begin, saute the onion in olive oil for about 10 minutes.

Dice up carrots, celery, and a small green bell pepper (if using). 

Add them to the pot with the onion. 

Toss in some spices:  thyme, turmeric, and salt.

 I LOVE turmeric and the golden yellow it imparts to the dish.  
But skip it if you aren't a fan. 

Add 7 cups of chicken stock.  
(Or use low-sodium broth.)
Bring it to a simmer.

Now for the dumplings:
Sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
Then pour in half-and-half.
Stir gently to make a dough.

Use a tablespoon to scoop the dumpling dough into the soup.
 The recipe makes 14 large dumplings.

Cover the pot halfway and let the dumplings simmer and steam for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle with parsley if desired.

And serve.

(Here is the printable recipe.)

"Vegetarian" Chicken and Dumplings
Serves 4-6

1 medium onion, diced
5 medium carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
7 cups chicken stock (low sodium) or broth
1 teaspoon dried parsley (or substitute 2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley)

1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 (heaping) tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 and 1/4 to 1/2 cups half-and-half

In a large dutch oven or stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onions and saute about 10 minutes.  Add carrots, celery and bell pepper.  Saute over medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes, stirring often, until crisp-tender. 

Pour in chicken stock or broth.  Bring liquid to a gentle simmer (not an active rolling boil) while you prepare the dumplings.

Sift together in a medium bowl the flour, cornmeal, baking soda and salt.  Pour in half-and-half (you may not have to use it all...pour in 1/2 cup increments).  Stir gently until dough is combined.  Do not overmix.

Drop tablespoons of dumpling dough into the simmering soup.  Cover pot halfway and cook for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with parsley.  Allow soup and dumplings to "rest" for about 10 minutes before serving. 

*Adapted from Pioneer Woman and Gourmet Magazine

Linking up at Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms.


Anonymous said...

This looks great. I've never made this soup before but my mom (we're Ukrainian) makes something similar, only the dumplings are made with just eggs and flour.

Rita said...

Have not made dumplings in a very long time; my boys used to love it. You are giving the urge to get some going; thanks.

Heather said...

making these tonight after a long hard day/week. thanks for always comforting my soul and body even from a far.
cept i added chicken! don't tell robert:)

Mary said...

I grew up eating plum dumplings! Still love them! But I can't wait to try this! So yummy and comforting on a cold fall day!