Squash and Dumplings

Vegetarians often substitute beans, tofu, or seitan for meat in comfort food recipes, but these can often strike the wrong note.  When I recall my mother’s chicken and dumplings, I remember a light broth with a simple stew and a shredded texture.  Summer squash gives the texture and light flavor to this version.

Ingredients for the soup:
2 tsp Olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
16 oz summer squash (any kind, frozen or fresh is fine)
3 cups broth (veggie or clear chicken)
1 carrot, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp marjoram, thyme, or sage (to your taste preference — any savory herb would do)

Ingredients for the dumplings:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh herbs (pick something accompany the herb that you chose for the soup)
scant 2 cups milk

1) Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a pot over medium heat.  When it is hot add a chopped onion and 16 ounces of summer squash (I used frozen).

2) Let the vegetables saute until they have browned slightly.  Part of the point of this stage is to break down the squash.  The more it browns, the sweeter it gets.

3) Add about three cups light vegetable broth or chicken broth along with a chopped carrot (if you like).

4) Then add 2 bay leaves and some chopped herbs.  I added a tablespoon of fresh marjoram, but thyme or sage would also work.  Let this simmer to break down the squash further and get it to shred … 20 to 30 minutes on medium to medium low heat.

5) As that simmers, mix 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon herbs (I used thyme).

6) Add 1 and ¾ to scant 2 cups milk.  The batter should be thick like a drop biscuit.

7) Drop the dumplings by spoonfuls into simmering stew.

8) Cover and simmer about 15-20 minutes.

9) Serve with chopped parsley, salt and pepper.

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