Warm and cozy "comfort food" once again, with no apologies. I never promised a blog full of green smoothies and flax-seed pasta...
This is one of my most-requested recipes: my "veganized" version of a decades-old "Grandma" recipe. I've included lots of variations and notes because I've made this so many times and yet, almost every time I seem to tweak it just slightly.
The basic recipe remains the same however. Don't be put off by all the ingredients; Do this however it works for YOU! Change seasonings and veggies around, make the recipe "yours".
The end result is well worth it!!!
~~For the "Chicken and Broth"~~
- 8 oz. your favorite vegan "chicken" meat substitute or chicken flavor seitan: (*I used Morningstar Farms Recipe Starters Chick'n Strips here and they are good, but now I much prefer Gardein Chick'n Strips (the refrigerated, un-breaded ones), I much prefer the taste and the texture is perfect!
- 6 cups vegan chicken-flavored (or vegetable) broth;
(I use McKays or Chef Bonneau's but use whatever you can find. The 'Wolfgang Puck' vegetarian one is really tasty too.)
- 1/2 cup white wine - the kind you drink, not "cooking wine".
(if you don't have it, just leave it out, it adds a lot to the flavor but isn't crucial)
- 5 whole cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 tablespoons margarine
- 1 onion, chopped (or sometimes I use a leek)
- 1 garlic clove, minced (of course I use more!!)
- 1/2 teaspoon each dried or fresh tarragon, sage and thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 6 boiling potatoes (1 1/2 pounds) cut into chunks
- 4 carrots (1/2 pound) cut into chunks
- 3 celery stalks, cut into pieces
- a cup or so of frozen peas, thawed
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley (optional but tasty and pretty)
- **sometimes I add a cup or two of chopped fresh kale
- **also optional but tasty, sliced mushrooms that have been lightly sauteed.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
(I use 1/2 whole-wheat sometimes, it can make the dumplings really heavy and dough-y if you use much more)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup shortening or 2 Tbsp coconut oil, soft but not melted
(Crisco is vegan, and what I originally used to use. Margarine doesn't do so well here. Use what you have though, anything's better than lard like Grandma used! Ugh!)
- 3/4 cup soymilk + 1 Tb. lemon juice or vinegar
- 1/4 cup chopped chives or parsley (optional, but again, it's pretty)
(Note: We're now assuming every time I say "chicken" that you know it's mock, fake, faux and I don't need to put quotes around it or spell it like "chik'nn" or whatever.)
Put the chicken, broth, wine, cloves and bay leaves in a 4 to 5-quart stock pot with a tight-fitting lid.
Simmer gently, partially covered, for 10 min or so while prepping veggies.
Transfer the chicken to a plate or bowl.
Let stand until cool. Strain the cooking liquid into a bowl.
Melt the margarine in the stockpot.
Add the onion and if you're using the optional fresh mushrooms, you can add them here too. Stir and cook over high heat for 3 - 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, pepper and herbs; cook for 1 more minute. Add the reserved broth that you cooked the chicken in.
Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, to make a smooth, thin sauce. Add the potatoes, carrots and celery to the sauce.
Simmer over low heat, partially covered, for 20–25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender but still firm. Check to make sure the sauce isn't too thick and things aren't burning. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and add to the vegetables. (If you 'tear' the chicken it looks much more authentic, just sayin'...)
Stir in the peas and parsley and chopped fresh greens if you're using them. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat then reduce the heat to a simmer.
For the dumplings, mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Using your fingers, work in the shortening/coconut oil until the mixture is crumbly.
Make a well in the center and pour in the soymilk/lemon juice mixture. Add the chives or parsley.
Stir quickly with a fork until the ingredients are just mixed. The dough should be pretty sticky and hold together well.
Using a tablespoon, drop the batter/dough into the broth to make 16 small dumplings, leaving space between them.
Sometimes when I'm feeling all Martha Stewart-ish, I shape them by hand a little so they aren't so rough.
Cover the pot and simmer, (over as low a flame as possible) without lifting lid, stirring or disturbing, for 15–20 minutes.
Spoon into bowls. Make sure every serving gets chicken, veggies, gravy and dumplings.
My Grandma's recipe says "Serve at once."
What?? Like we're going to wait around at this point??
Garnish with parsley or chives if you want.