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Monday, November 04, 2013

Tomato Stew with Cheese Dumplings


I'm rather partial to canned tomatoes and as a child I'd often eat them cold from the can but on a chilly fall or winter day I'll give up the cold tomatoes and trade them in for this stew.   The tender cheesy dumplings almost melt into the tomato broth and give extra substance to the dish.

The recipe looks long and involved but it really isn't.  When I was working, getting something on the table quickly was often the order of the day.  I guess this is how the recipe came about.  The stew is  quick to make (faster than ordering pizza) and cheap as well.  Depending on how fast you can open a couple of cans and chop onions and mushrooms, it can be ready in 30 or 40 minutes.  The cheese can be totally eliminated if you prefer not to have that, but I really like cheese and it compliments the tomatoes perfectly.  The recipe makes 4 servings but if you'd like to stretch it out to serve 6 just add an extra can of tomatoes. 



Tomato Stew
1 large onion, large dice
1 can sliced mushrooms or
½ pound container fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 28-ounce can tomatoes with juice, broken or chopped
1 can of favorite beans, rinsed and drained (5 or 6 bean mix is nice)
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried basil
salt & pepper to taste

Dumplings:
1 cup flour (may use half whole wheat)
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese (may use low fat)
½ cup water or milk

Garnish:
¼-
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (low fat may be used)

In a large pot sauté onion and mushrooms in oil until soft and just starting to turn golden.  Add tomatoes, rinsed beans, oregano and basil. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.  Bring to a simmer. 

While stew is coming to a simmer make dumplings.  Mix flour, baking powder and salt together.  Rub butter into the mixture until it is well incorporated and mealy.  Mix in shredded cheese. Add water or milk and mix lightly until you have a very soft dough.  Do not over mix the dough. Divide dough into 6 to 8 portions and gently form each into a loose ball.  You may have to flour your hand to do this or you may just be able to use a spoon.  Lay dumplings on top of simmering stew.  Place the lid on the pot and cook dumplings for 15 minutes without lifting the lid. (One of the seven deadly sins of cooking is lifting the lid while dumplings are simmering.) When dumplings are cooked (full 15 minutes) sprinkle remaining cheese on top of dumplings.  Loosely cover until cheese melts, about 1 minute, and serve.  Makes about 4 servings.





See how fat the dumplings become.
 These dumplings were made with half white and half whole wheat flour. 





Looks like I added green pepper to the stew. 
What a lovely meal for a chilly day.



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