Monday, October 6, 2014

Carrot and Potato Stew with Lemon-Thyme Dumplings

I love this stew. It's easy and fun to make and always hits the spot, especially on a chilly fall or winter night. Our neighbor got a spot at Pike Place Market for his soda business and gave us some veggies from the market. This was the perfect dish for them. Look at these beauties:

Which reminds me: don't get stuck in the mindset that there has to be some kind of meat-type ingredient in order to make a stew. The potatoes and carrots, along with a thick broth, are more than enough to make this stew satisfying. Some seitan or field roast would be a perfectly fine addition, but I think you'll find that you won't need them.

For the stew:
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 medium sweet onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 bunch carrots, peeled and sliced (about 1 1/2 cups after they're diced)
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped into small chunks
6 cups warm veggie stock
1 tsp salt
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp tarragon
1 tbsp rosemary
1 tsp smoked paprika
Black pepper to taste

For the dumplings:
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp thyme, crushed between your fingers
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil

Make the stew: First, dice up your veggies and have them at the ready. You can put the potatoes, carrots and celery on a plate or in a bowl all together to save space. Leave the onions by themselves. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Once it shimmers, add the flour and stir it around in the oil, making sure it's absorbed completely. Stir the mixture around for about 3 minutes, until it's a little darker and smells kind of nutty.

Add the onions and the salt and stir them around to coat in the flour mixture. Sweat the onions over the heat, stirring pretty regularly, until they're nice and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir it around, cooking it for another 20-30 seconds.

Slowly pour in the veggie broth, stirring constantly with a whisk to make sure there are no lumps. Add the other vegetables and the seasonings and stir it all up. Put the lid onto the pot and turn the heat up to high. When it starts to boil, turn the heat back down enough to keep it at a nice simmer. Let it cook like this for about 20 minutes, stirring it around occasionally.

Make the dumplings: While the stew is simmering, combine your dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the liquid ingredients and stir them around. This won't be like pizza or bread dough, all dry and easy to handle. It should be sticky. Only add more flour if it's liquidy or runny (it shouldn't be).

Remove the lid and drop in large spoonfuls of dumpling dough directly into the stew. They'll sink and won't look like much, but trust me on this. Put the lid back on and leave it alone for 15 more minutes. Once you lift the lid, they'll go from looking small and sad to this:

Ladle the stew into some bowls, top with a couple of dumplings and enjoy!

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