The month of March can be confusing for the palette. Our bodies and minds begin to crave spring and start thinking of those lighter summer foods to come, but the weather is often still cold leaving us wanting comfort food as well. So, for this month I bring you my version of chicken and dumplings, only it's minus the chicken, add the chickpea and bring in the veggies! This dish is still warming to the body without the heaviness of a stew or chili.
The Dumpling and the Chickpea
When developing this recipe, I first addressed adding depth of flavor in the broth. I discovered that without browning chicken and having that flavor plus some of the fat from the meat, the broth lacked layering. Well, I have worked that out and present you with an oh-so-fantastic vegan version! Next, if you are worried about dumplings because they disintegrated on you in the past, don't be. This dumpling is easy to make and yummy to eat.
Suggestion: Double this recipe and freeze half. It defrosts beautifully for a quick meal down the road!
Ingredients for the Broth
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. flour
1 cup chopped carrots (~ 3 carrots)
1 cup chopped celery (~ 4 celery stalks)
1 cup chopped onion (~ 1/2 large onion)
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. rosemary
1/2 cup white wine (doesn't have to be fancy wine ... can be simple cooking wine)
8 cups water
4 X vegetable bullion cube
2 X bay leaf
1 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
Salt & Pepper
Preparing the Broth
Pour 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large pot. Add chopped vegetables, 2 tbsp. flour, basil, oregano, & rosemary; stir to coat. Sautee veggies on medium-high heat until onion is translucent and flour begins to brown (look for browning on the bottom of the pot; approx. 10 minutes). Pour in white wine and de-glaze the pan (rub up the brown bits off the bottom of the pot letting it mix into the white wine); let simmer for a minute. Add in water, bullion cubes, & bay leaves. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Bring to a boil. While waiting on it to boil begin preparing the dumplings.
Ingredients for the Dumpling
2 cups flour, plus a bit more for surface
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 pinch salt
2 tbsp. Earth Balance Butter
1 cup soy milk
Preparing the Dumpling
In a large bowl, mix together 2 cups flour, baking powder and salt. Add in the earth balance butter. Use your fingers to mix and break the butter into the flour until it becomes like cornmeal with a soft consistency. Slowly pour in the soy milk and stir using a fork until it forms a dough ball (you want all of the flour sticking together, but at the same time you don't want to the dough to be too wet/sticky). If it is too dry and not sticking together then just add a (small) bit more milk. If it gets too sticky/wet then just add a bit more flour.
Spread out the dough with a rolling pin on a heavily floured surface until dough is about 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into roughly shaped squares & rectangles (I use a pizza cutter but a sharp knife works too). Start picking up your dumplings and drop them into the pot of boiling water. Occasionally stir the dumplings in a swirling motion. If your dumplings are not pulling up easily from the surface then just sprinkle a bit more flour (the extra flour helps the dumplings peel up easier and thickens the broth a bit). Once all the dumplings are in the pot, let simmer for 20 minutes and then serve!