Friday, November 18, 2016

Recipe of the Week: Soups and Stews



It's starting to cool down outside, albeit slowly for this time of year, and that means it's time to dig out my soup pot. I mean that literally, not figuratively, as I have the good fortune of owning some old Wagner Ware Magnalite. I own the Dutch Oven and Turkey Roasters, and they are wonderful. Nothing is more durable or longer-lasting than this cookware (Yes, cast iron is awesome, but it can rust. Wagner Ware doesn't rust.), and they can be used on top of the stove or in the oven. 



Wagner Ware Turkey Roaster (not mine).



Wagner Ware Dutch Oven (also not mine).


Many a good meal has been made in my Wagner Ware, and the Dutch Oven is perfect for making delicious soup. Why? Well, mainly because good soup needs to be made in large quantities, but also because when a good soup is made, it gets eaten in large quantities. No one wants to run out of good soup too soon! Making a good soup is easy. If you have broth (or something to make broth with), and any combination of protein/veggies/grains/seasonings, you can easily whip together a tasty soup. If you want it heartier, put a larger ratio of items in, and thicken the liquid up with either flour or cornstarch. Easy!

Anyway, last night I got out my Wagner Wear Dutch Oven, and decided that a good stew was in order. I perused my veggie and protein options, and settled on the ingredients. I also decided that I needed dumplings, because who doesn't need a good dumpling sometimes? I made a delicious dumpling stew called:

Smoky Tofu Stew with Chive Dumplings


Here's the Smoky Tofu Stew with Chive Dumplings right after it finished cooking. You can seen the tofu, veggies, and dumplings.


Smoky Tofu Stew with Chive Dumplings. Yummy!


Here's how I made it:


Smoky Tofu Stew with Chive Dumplings


Ingredients:

For the stew:

2 T. coconut oil, or oil of preference
6 medium potatoes, cut into chunks
3 medium carrots, cut into chunks
1 can of Navy bean, drained and rinsed
1/2 c. each of frozen peas and corn
10 c. vegetable stock*
1/3 c. flour**
1/2 c. cold water
1 T. smoked paprika
2 t. each salt, pepper, turmeric, Old Bay, granulated onion, and granulated garlic
2 T. parsley flake***
1 t. celery seed powder****


For the tofu:

1 block of tofu, cut into chunks*****
2 T. vegetable oil



For the dumplings:

1 c. flour (I used whole wheat white)
1/2 c. millet flour******
2 t. baking powder
1/4 c. dried chives***
1 t. each salt & pepper
1.5 T. coconut oil
1 c. unsweetened, plain almond milk*******



Instructions:


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Coat tofu in oil and spread out onto a cookie sheet.
3. Bake the tofu for 15 minutes each side, or until lightly browned on either side. Remove from heat.
4. Warm the coconut oil over medium-high heat in dutch oven.
5. Add the potatoes and carrots, and stir to coat well. 
6. Sautee, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes.
7. Add vegetable broth, beans, other veggies, and seasonings. Stir to incorporate and then gently boil over medium-high heat until potatoes and carrots are tender, approx. 15 to 20 minutes.
8. Whisk together the flour and cold water until a smooth paste forms. Add to the stew and stir well. 
9. Add the tofu to the pot of stew.
10. Stir occasionally and keep an eye on the stew until it starts to thicken.
11. While this is happening, mix the dry dumpling ingredients together until well incorporated.
12. Using a fork or pastry cutter, cut in the coconut oil until incorporated and the mixture looks mealy.
13. Add in the milk until you have a sticky, wet dough.
14. Drop by teaspoonfuls into stew pot.
15. Turn the heat down to medium, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
16. Remove from heat and let cool before eating as it will be molten hot.



Recipe Notes:

*You can use any stock you want, but I prefer Better than Bouillon's Vegetable Stock. The flavor can't be beat!

**You can use any flour you want. Gluten-free flours like chickpea and millet work fine here if you prefer.

***You can use fresh herbs if you prefer, but if you do, you need to use less.

****You can use half a stalk of fresh celery if you prefer, cut into small pieces. If you do, add this to the potatoes and carrots during the sautee step.

*****You do not need to press the tofu before baking. Baking removes the excess moisture, saving yourself an extra step.

******I add the gluten-free, millet flour in addition to the regular flour because it gives it more density, therefore making it heartier. You can omit this and use all wheat flour, but in this case, cut the milk down to 2/3 c. You can also make gluten-free dumplings by using your favorite recipe and adding the chives. 

*******I use unsweetened, plain almond milk everyday, but you can use any plant-based milk you prefer. Just make sure it's free of sweeteners and flavorings. 

Of course, this recipe is open to variation. Use ingredients you have on hand! If you have different veggies, use them. If you have margarine instead of coconut oil to make dumplings, use it. If you want gluten-free, it's easy to sub out (as I've shown you).

Happy Friday and happy souping!

-H.A.







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