This inviting (and inexpensive) bowl of hearty vegetable stew topped with a savory 'buttery' dumpling is one of the oldest recipes in my hand-written book. Friends of ours made this for us in college and I have never forgotten that lovely meal. I have made it several times a year ever since.
This is comfort food to be sure, but even without meat it is delicious enough to serve to guests with the guarantee that everyone will leave the table completely satisfied. The stew can be made the day ahead and then warmed up to a low simmer again on the stove just before adding the dumplings so it makes for an easy entertaining option when a vegetarian/vegan option is needed.
I added dumplings to the dish years ago and now I never make it without them. The soup is thickened into stew when one cup is pureed with a blender, giving the soup a hearty, creamier body. The flavors of the soup are delicious with or without the dumplings, or even without the pureeing, but I offer here the full version; pick and choose the parts you wish to complete. The soup is finished with a couple of different acids that add significant flavor, don't skip them. I offer variations, depending on your diet constraints.
Russian Potato Stew
One recipe Vegetable Broth, use 6 cups water and add 1/2 bunch parsley to the pot for flavoring as it simmers.
3 Tablespoons margarine/butter
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic
2 celery ribs, sliced
3 medium carrots, chopped
2 pounds red potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
1-2 teaspoons Better than Bouillon No Chicken Base (or salt)
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 - 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or Spanish if smoked is not available)
2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (or 2-3 teaspoons soy sauce for vegan diets)
1 Tablespoon cooking sherry or dry vermouth
- Prepare the vegetable broth according to the recipes directions.
- In a dutch oven or large stock pot, saute the onion and garlic in the margarine just into transparent. Add the other vegetables, toss to coat with the hot oil, allow to cook a few minutes before adding the strained vegetable broth and the bay leaf. Cook on medium low heat until the vegetables are tender.
- Adjust salt level with bouillon if available, alternatively add salt as needed.
- Remove the bay leaf. Measure out 1 cup of vegetables and enough broth to allow them to blend easily; use a stick blender if available and blend until smooth. Add the mixture back to the pot with the remaining ingredients.
- Return to low simmer and add dumplings.
Heat oven to 400-degrees Fahrenheit.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup parsley, minced fine
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup milk of choice (I prefer almond for a vegan option)
1/4 cup melted butter/margarine
1/4-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Combine all dry ingredients together including the parsley. Add the oil and milk, stir just until no big lumps remain and the mixture is uniformly wet.
- Drop by large teaspoons full on to the top of the simmering liquid and place into hot oven.
- Bake 15 minutes, remove from oven and brush with garlic butter.
- Return to the oven for just a few minutes under the broiler if a golden hue is desired.