In need of a quick and hearty supper, I went rummaging through my freezer inventory to find several quarts of beef stew. As the soup was defrosting in a bowl of water, I remembered that this particular batch had lots of savory gravy. It was almost a bit too thin for a hearty, meat-and-potatoes type meal. But then, for those of us that enjoy bread and gravy, this beef stew was perfectly suited for dumplings.
When growing up, I remember my mother making stew with dumplings, and it always seemed like such a festive occasion. She would drop spoonfuls of biscuit type batter into a big pot and cover it tightly. Soon the kitchen would be filled with wafts of steam and delicious aromas. After twenty minutes, off came the lid, and miraculously, there would be cooked biscuits floating on gravy, or dumplings.
The recipe for Herbed Dumplings is adapted from the The Fanny Farmer Cookbook. In tinkering with it, I added some whole-wheat flour to increase the fiber. I like to be creative and try changing the variety of different chopped fresh herbs depending upon the flavor of the broth: think basil and chives for a veggie soup, sage and parsley for chicken stew, or in my case, I used parsley, lovage and chives for our beef stew.
Dumplings are little miracles of delicate flavor that sop up all sorts of good gravy and broth. Just by adding plops of herbed dough to the pot, our sparse meal became a feast.
Soup With Herbed Dumplings
- 2 quarts soup
- 1 1/3 cups flour a combination of whole wheat and white are tasty
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (lovageparsley, chives, basil, be creative)
- 2 tablespoons melted butter or canola oil
- ½ cup milk
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the chopped herbs. Add the fat to the milk, whisk together, then stir into the dry mixture. The dough should just hold together.
- Bring 2 quarts of soup to heat in a pot with a diameter of at least 10 inches to allow room for the dumplings. The gravy should be shallow enough so that the dumplings rest on the meat and veggies as they cook. Once the soup is warm and simmering, drop spoonfuls of dough on top of the bubbling broth. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes, try not to peak!
- Serve in soup plates with dumplings on top. Makes dumplings for six servings.