VeganMoFo Day 6: Comforts of home

Sometimes it takes just a bite of food to coax a comforting memory of home out of the deep corners of your mind. Being in The Netherlands is an amazing experience and being with my partner after a year of waiting is nothing to complain about, but homesickness is a reality when you’re far from friends and family. Skype helps, but there’s nothing like a bowl of a well-loved family recipe to cure those pangs of longing for home. 

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My mama often made big pots of chicken and dumplings for my brother and I to eat, reheat, and eat again for a few days at a time. The dumplings are really chunks of biscuit dough dropped into the hot broth that only get better after some time in the fridge. There’s no reason that one should see veganism as a life choice that separates one from the comforting recipes of our parents and grandparents. I’ve welcomed the challenge of veganizing some of my favorites and luckily this one is an easy fix. 

It’s as easy as making your favorite vegetable soup or broth, adding in some seitan or reconstituted TVP, and dropping some biscuits into the broth to make this recipe. Here’s a rough recipe, but feel free to make it your own. My only recommendation is to not crowd the pot too much with veggies, because this is a show for the dumplings. 

Vegan Chicken and Dumplings

Ingredients

1 onion, diced

few cloves of garlic, chopped

1-2 ribs of celery, diced

1-2 carrots, diced

1 potato, peeled and diced (leave the peel on if you have little red ones!)

4 cups of veggie broth (you can always add more if you think you need it)

1/2-1 tsp dried herbs (I’ve used thyme and bay leaves…sometimes I use nothing)

salt and pepper to taste

TVP chunks (I just let them reconstitute themselves in the soup broth - you could also use seitan)

Your favorite vegan biscuit recipe

Optional add-ins: Greens! I had some escarole that needed to be used and it was wonderful in this recipe. Depending on the green, you may want to add it in about half-way through so it doesn’t get too mushy. Peas toward the end of cooking could be nice. And if it’s fresh green bean time, those would be nice as well. Fresh chopped parsley is a nice, refreshing garnish. Oh, and I’m mega vegan, which means I like to put nutritional yeast in everything. Go for it - I’ve done it and it was tasty. 

Directions (like you even need them!)

1. Melt some oil or margarine or both in the bottom of a soup pot. When it’s ready, add in your chopped onions, celery, carrots, and garlic and let it get fragrant.

2. Toss in your potatoes and then pour in the broth. My favorite vegan broth is Better than Bouillon. They make vegan vegetable, no chicken, and no beef broths that are great and dissolve quickly (unlike those pesky cubes). 

3. Put in your dried herbs, pop the top on, and let the mix come up to a simmer. In the meantime, make your biscuits. You want to let the potatoes get a little bit soft before you drop the biscuits.

4. When the pot comes to a simmer and your veggies are starting to soften, scoop up spoonfuls of biscuit dough and drop them into the pot. You don’t want big spoonfuls, but you also don’t want tiny ones (maybe about two tablespoons of dough). I used two soup spoons to do this - passing the bit of dough back and forth between the spoons to get a somewhat uniform shape. There’s probably a French name for this, but you don’t have to get as serious. What I’m saying is just get the blobs of dough in the pot. Stir them around just a bit so they don’t stick together and put a lid on the pot. 

5. How long? I don’t really know. Depends on your biscuits and the size of those biscuits. Just check now and again to see if the biscuits are done. It will be doughy on the outside, but baked a bit on the inside. 

6. Toss in any of those optional add-ins like greens or frozen peas - stuff that would get mushy with long cooking. Put in a healthy bit of fresh ground black pepper and check the broth for salt. I wait until the end to do this since the veggie broth can be pretty salty on its own. 

7. Serve it up! Make sure everyone gets a lot of dumplings, because those are the best part. I recommend chopping each dumpling into one or two pieces with your spoon to make even more dumplings in your bowl. These leftovers are amazing, so don’t be afraid to make a big pot just for yourself. 

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This post is part of VeganMoFo - the Vegan Month of Food. Learn more about it by checking out VeganMoFo Headquarters where you can subscribe to a bunch of vegan blogs and drool over delicious and cruelty-free food.