A steaming bowl of comfort food like this vegetarian stew is perfect for an autumn or winter meal! Tender vegetables, mushrooms, savory herbs and light, fluffy dill dumplings…what could be easier or more satisfying?
The weather has been cool and rainy outside and that always makes me feel like cozying up with a nice, hot bowl of something delicious for lunch. And with all of the autumn veggies in abundance, today I decided on one of our favorites – this yummy and totally satisfying vegetable stew with herb dumplings. It’s so easy to make and so fulfilling!
There’s not much of a story to tell about this veggie dish, just that once you try it, I’m sure it will become one of those go-to dishes that you know will make everyone happy, especially when there’s a chill in the air. It’s also one of those “stone soup” kind of recipes, where the more you throw into the pot, the better it tastes… I’ll provide the base recipe below, but this is surely a recipe that doesn’t need specific quantities or veggies to be good.
Of course, the dumplings need a recipe, which is based on my go-to biscuit recipe that never fails me, and in this case, provides the tender, fluffy dumplings that we need in this stew. I’ve added fresh dill (you can use dried also) to the dumpling dough which makes them nice and herb-y… but you can add other herbs if you prefer them… rosemary, thyme, you name it!
And for the future, you can use this recipe to make plain biscuits, or as a base for cheese biscuits, or any number of biscuit variations… once you have the proportions right, your mind is your only limitation when it comes to biscuits!
Let’s Make Some Vegetable Stew With Herb Dumplings
First you’re going to prep your veggies. Now, as I mentioned above, this recipe is flexible, so I will share with you how I make it. But sometimes I vary the veggies, depending on what is available or what appeals to me at the moment. For, example, right now there is no celery available! Sounds, strange, but that is one of the few veggies that don’t seem to be present in the markets where we are in Republic of Georgia.
There are so many fresh herbs and veggies here, but I’ve had to do without a few things I’m used to cooking with, celery being one of them. But I’ve included it in the recipe card because I usually use it for this recipe. That being said, regarding the rest of the veggies, if you have a parsnip or a sweet potato on hand, or you want to make other substitutions, don’t hesitate… it will be fantastic, regardless. Just stick to the autumn veggies and you’ll be fine. Oh, and of course, even though I love beets, they will turn your stew a muddy purple, so I’d leave those out, but you knew that already ?
So, you’ll chop your veggies… this recipe made two heaping bowls of stew for just the two of us, so the amounts I’ve listed may seem ridiculously small if you’re feeling a family of six. Feel free to double or triple as required for your family.
You’ll start by choosing a heavy bottomed pot for the stew, large enough to give the dumplings room to expand after you set them in at the end.
First you’ll add the oil and begin frying the onions. When the onions have become just a bit browned and translucent, then add the garlic and let it begin to brown. You’ll next add the rest of the veggies and fry for a few minutes. Some veggie stew recipes call for vegetable broth, but I always try to do everything fresh, so I rarely keep canned or packaged products on hand. And I don’t prefer frozen foods, either. So, basically, we’ll be making our own veggie broth when we boil the veggies! If you’d like to add veggie broth that you have on hand from whatever source, please feel free to add in your extra veggi-ness instead, or in addition to water – it’s your choice!
If you don’t have vegetable broth on hand, you’ll add the water and begin boiling the veggies.
After about 15 minutes, add the dried herbs and seasonings (or fresh, if you have them!) and reduce to medium heat while the veggies continue to cook. You’ll want to cook the veggies until just tender, keeping an eye on the potatoes, which will take the longest to cook.
While the veggies are bubbling away and nearly done, you’ll take the last teaspoon of cooking oil and put it in a small bowl. Add one TBSP of flour to it and make an oil roux– adjust the oil or flour until you get a nice paste, which you’ll add to the stew, immediately whisking to disperse throughout. We’re adding this flour to slightly thicken the stew before adding the dumplings. If you don’t whisk it thoroughly into the stew, you’ll end up with little dough blobs that will not taste good, look pretty or thicken your stew!
Now, for the dumplings… you want to wait until the last possible minutes to make the dumpling dough, so it doesn’t have a chance to fall flat while you’re waiting for the stew to be ready.
First you’ll measure flour into a mixing bowl and cut in cold butter. I do this by hand, making sure that the butter gets mixed in, until the butter pieces are the size of small peas, and distributed throughout the flour. Add in the rest of the dry ingredients and then the milk. Mix together to form a rough ball.
Don’t over mix and mash; you want your dough to be light and fluffy and over-manipulating your dough will make it tough. Divide the dough into a- bit-smaller-than-golf-ball-sized sections – you can make these larger or smaller, according to your preference, remembering that they will expand as they cook. If you like round dumplings, very gently roll the pieces into ball shapes. If you prefer biscuit shaped drop dumplings, omit the rolling and just drop the dough by spoonfuls into the boiling stew – I’ve done it both ways, (this photo below is the same recipe with drop dumplings) and it works great either way… just go with your mood. ?
You’ll add the dumplings right at the end of your stew cooking. As soon as you add the dumplings, make sure your pot is still bubbling on medium heat and cover immediately, so the dumplings can steam. This will take anywhere from 8 -12 minutes, depending on the heat, amount of dumplings and the size of your dumplings.
After 8 minutes, check a dumpling by inserting a knife to see if it comes out clean; if not, cover immediately and let it simmer a bit longer. Over-cooking the dumplings could make them toughen, so, it may take a time or two of trying before you get it perfect. Regardless, the stew will taste heavenly.
When the dumplings are done, remove the pot from heat and serve immediately. As this is practically a one-dish meal, I sometimes add a small salad on the side, but that’s it. Completely delish and nutritious, too!
I do hope you try this vegetable stew with herb dumplings on a cold and autumn-y day… you’re sure to enjoy it!
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Totally Satisfying Vegetable Stew With Herb Dumplings
For the Stew:
- 2 TBSP olive oil or preferred cooking oil
- ⅓ cup chopped onions
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- ¼ cup chopped celery
- ½ cup fresh butternut squash, chopped
- ½ cup carrots, chopped
- 1 small potato, chopped
- 1-2 fresh white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 2-3 fresh broccoli leaves, chopped or other greens as per your choice
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme fresh, if available
- ¼ teaspoon marjoram
- ¼ teaspoon rosemary dried, or powder
- ½ teaspoon salt adjust to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 TBSP flour
- 1 teaspoon cooking oil
For the Herb Dumplings:
- 2 cups flour
- 1 TBSP baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup cold butter
- ⅔ cup milk
- 2 teaspoons fresh or dried dill weed, chopped
For the Stew:
- In a large dutch kettle or large heavy bottomed pot, melt oil and fry the chopped onions until translucent; add garlic and bay leaf and cook until the garlic is lightly browned, being careful not to burn. ?
- Add the mushrooms and the rest of the veggies, and cover with water. Use enough water to cover the veggies by about 2 inches.
- Bring to boil and cook the veggies until a broth begins to develop. Add the remaining spices and continue boiling, checking the veggies for tenderness. Be sure to check the potatoes as they will take the longest to cook.
- When the veggies are nearly done, put one teaspoon of oil into a small cup and add one tablespoon of flour to make an oil roux. Add the roux to the boiling stew, whisking immediately to disperse the roux into the stew for thickening. Lower heat to medium and let the stew thicken.
For the Dumplings:
- NOTE: This recipe usually makes about 6-8 large biscuits, so you may not need all of the biscuit dough for the dumplings, depending on how many servings of soup and how many dumplings you want. We like a lot of dumplings, so that's why I have given this recipe. Depending on your preference, you could end up with biscuit dough for a couple of biscuits for later! ?
- In a medium bowl, add the flour, salt, baking powder and dill weed. Mix thoroughly.
- Add the cold butter, cutting it into the flour, either with two butter knives or by hand. You can also use a pastry cutter if you have one on hand.
- When butter is cut into small pea-sized pieces and evenly dispersed, add the milk and quickly form a loose ball.
- If your stew is thickened and ready for the dumplings, either roll the dumplings into less-than-golf-sized balls, or drop by spoonfuls into the stew.
- Immediately cover the stew and wait for 8 minutes for the dumplings to steam. Keep the lid on the pot until you are ready to check the dumplings for done-ness.
- Insert a sharp knife into a dumpling. If the knife comes out clean the dumplings are done and the stew is ready. If not, immediately cover and wait for another 2-3 minutes. Don't over cook the dumplings or they might get tough.
- Serve as soon as the dumplings are ready!