Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Vegetarian Chicken + Dumplings

Our grandmothers made chicken and dumplings all the time like it was nothing. One would appreciate a little begging before she got out the flour and the milk; the other shrugged and made just dumplings after 3 of the grandkids went vegetarian at the same time. We love our sweet grandmothers, and we got a huge part of our love of cooking from them. This is a dish that really brought us back.

Vegetarian "Chicken" Stock:

olive oil
1 onion
1 Not Chick'n bouillon cube
8-10 cups water
1/2 bunch parsley
2 carrots
3 ribs celery
1 red pepper
10 cloves garlic
4 sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon white miso paste

In a food processor, pulse the carrots, celery, pepper, and garlic until evenly chopped. (This helps extract more flavor from the vegetables.) Over medium heat in a large soup pot or dutch oven, brown the diced onion in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add the bouillon cube and stir. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Strain and set aside.

Vegetarian Chicken + Dumplings

1 package chicken-style seitan (torn into bite-sized bits)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
black pepper
pinch of garlic powder
6 cups vegetarian "chicken" stock

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt two tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Toss the seitan with the flour, and then sear the seitan in the butter until crispy. Turn once and brown the other side. Add a pinch of garlic powder and black pepper. Pour stock over the seitan and reduce heat to low.

Parsley + Olive Oil Dumplings:

2 tablespoons baking powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup minced flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup milk

In a medium mixing bowl, mix dry ingredients and then the wet ingredients; stir just enough to mix because if you stir too much, the dumplings will become tough. Bring the six cups of stock and chicken up to a slow boil. Drop dumpling batter into stock one spoonful at a time. You should have 10-12 dumplings. Place lid on soup pot and reduce the heat to simmer for 15 minutes without disturbing the pot.

This is the garnish for the dumplings: dice a carrot, celery rib, and 1/8 cup of parsley, and then mix diced vegetables with a drizzle of olive oil, a splash of champagne vinegar, a pinch of sugar, and a pinch of salt. Mix to incorporate. To serve, spoon 2-3 dumplings and a few pieces of seitan along with some broth into a soup bowl and garnish with the fresh vegetable mixture.