Did you miss me? I missed you.
You may have noticed how I was absent last week. No posts at all. Well, the brilliant combo of taking on more days at work, a new trend in burning my dishes, and getting a cold, left me with nothing to post…except for a few sad pictures on instagram and twitter.
Well, the good news is, I am over my cold, I’m not working as much this week, and best of all, I didn’t burn a single dish this weekend. What does that mean? Well, I was able to do a lot of cooking this weekend. Yay! So not only do I have some delicious recipes for you this week, but I have many more to come!
Now onto the show! ….well, food.
It has been cold, and rainy, leaves are blowing, and so was my nose. What to make? Not you, chicken noodle soup! Your flimsy wimp noodles aren’t going to do anything for my cold. I want something rich, full of veggie power, and stick to your ribs delicious. So I made an enormous pot of Hearty Vegan Stew with Dumplings. I packed in a ton of hearty veggies, and made a hearty thick glorious broth with all sorts of hearty yummy spices. Did I say hearty? And the best part is, it definitely doesn’t taste like chicken.
Hearty Vegan Stew:
Makes 4-6 very hearty servings
Glug of Olive Oil
2-3 Pinches of Cumin
2-3 Pinches Mustard Powder
3-4 Pinches Cayenne Powder
2-3 Pinches All Spice
2-3 Pinches Oregano
Salt & Pepper
1 Medium Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Tub of Mushrooms (or a couple of handfuls)
4 Medium Potatoes
1 Acorn Squash
Splash of White Wine or White Vermouth (optional)
Small Can of Crushed Tomatoes, or Leftover Tomato Sauce
4-6 Cups Veggie Stock (or a couple veggie stock cubes and water)
Couple Handfuls of Frozen Peas
Spoon or two of Cornstarch
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
Several Grinds of Pepper
1/2 Cup Almond Milk (or other non dairy milk)
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
*Super Secret Special Trick* I like to use veggie broth cubes or powder, and the reason I like to do this is, I can add more or less flavour as I please. In fact, I used a cube of mushroom stock, and a cube of onion stock to get ultimate awesome flavour! I recommend picking up a selection of high quality veggie stock cubes to have on hand.
Chop up the remaining 4 carrots and the rest of the veggies into heartier chunks all roughly the same size. For the acorn squash, I find it easiest to cut it in half, scoop out the guts and seeds (save for roasting if you like). Then use a potato peeler to peel off the skin. Cutting it in half first makes it easier to hold onto while doing this.
In a big stew pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Toss in your onion, garlic, red pepper, and the finely chopped carrot into the pan. You can see in this picture, that my finely chop, is much closer to some peoples rough chop…and that’s just fine. Cause guess what? It’s a veggie stew!
Add all your spices now too. Stir it all around and sautee the spices and veggies. Some delicious aromas will be starting to fill your kitchen.
When the onions start to look golden and delicious, toss in your mushrooms and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. When the mushrooms have cooked a bit, if you have white wine or white vermouth, deglaze the pan by splashing a in couple gluts, and using your spoon to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Otherwise, you can do this with a bit of broth.
Now dump in the remaining veggies, the crushed tomatoes or about a cup of tomato sauce and all your broth. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower to a simmer and let it cook for about 18 minutes, giving it a stir every now and then. After 18 minutes poke the veggies with a fork, they should be mostly cooked. Add your peas now.
Whisk up about 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch in a bit of water. Then stir that into the soup. Why do this separately first? If you dump the cornstarch into the soup it will tend to clump and be hard to incorporate. So even though it seems annoying, whisk it with the water in a separate bowl first. Let the soup cook for about 2 minutes, and check to see how thick it is. If you want it thicker still repeat the cornstarch step, testing again after about 2 minutes of cooking.
Use a spoon (I used a tablespoon) to drop the batter onto the surface of the stew. Don’t worry about being neat or tidy, just blob it in wherever there seems to be room. Don’t stir it! Now cover the pot, and let simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on. No peeking! The steam from the stew will cook the dumplings.