This recipe is based on possibly the most famous stew in the southern United States. It's the kind of dish that is passed down from generation to generation, creating feuds between families over minor variations, such as flat or fluffy dumplings (fluffy) and broth base or cream base (broth). Having come from the northeast, where the gravy is always brown, I never knew much about this stew before I met my husband. That's why, as part of the tradition I've started on this blog, I'm dedicating this recipe to him.
Although Brian was born on the west coast, his family hails from Kentucky, which means he knows a fair bit about southern food. Seitan and dumplings is his favorite, and that comes as no surprise to me. It's a nurturing and comforting dish - something you make for someone you care deeply for. Brian cares deeply for many people, and supporting and helping others has always been his main passion in life. It's a passion that is becoming fully realized now that he's graduated from nursing school.
Watching my husband achieve his dreams has been inspiring. In fact, marrying Brian has inspired my life in many ways, including the way I cook. Although I was a vegetarian when I met him, veganism was still something that somehow seemed grim and impossibly restrictive. Dining with Brian completely changed my perspective on what was possible with a vegan diet. It also changed my outlook on food and cooking in general, and piqued an interest that later transformed me into the awesome cook and foodie I am today.
So, it goes without saying that I'm excited to have the opportunity to make my husband his favorite dish. I hope you'll give this recipe a try too, and make it for someone you love.
You'll want to get started on the seitan first. Click here for full instructions and step-by-step photos on making seitan. Cut the seitan into bite-sized pieces.
The dumplings come next, and they're really easy to make. Just cut some margarine into a mixture of flour, baking powder and salt. Then, mix in some soy milk. The dough will be wet and sticky. Cover the bowl and stick it in the fridge while you get to work on the soup.
The soup starts off with a base of onions, garlic, carrots and celery. Broth, lemon juice and herbs are added.
Once the soup is simmering nicely, it's time to drop in the dumplings. Unless you want giant dumplings, you only need to use small spoonfuls of dough. They will expand as they cook. Oh, and make sure you let them cook with the lid on the pot. No peaking! It needs to be nice and steamy in there for them to get the right consistency.
After the dumplings are done steaming, gently stir them into the stew along with your seitan pieces and a little parsley. That's it, you're done! All you need to do now is set a couple bowlfuls of this warm, fragrant stew in front of you and your loved one, grab some spoons, and dig in while you talk about your day.
Seitan and Dumplings
Important: Be sure to give yourself enough time to cook the seitan. For a quicker recipe, you can use store bought seitan.
1 cup vital wheat gluten flour
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable broth powder
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery cut into 1/4” pieces
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2” pieces
6 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
- Prepare the seitan. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil a lidded casserole dish with non-stick spray. Combine flours, nutritional yeast, spices and vegetable stock powder in a large bowl. Mix the water, lemon juice and soy sauce in a small bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until a dough forms. Adjust amount of water or gluten as needed (see tip). Knead the dough for 5 minutes, then form into a loaf. Place the seitan in the casserole dish and cover with 2 cups of vegetable broth. Cover and cook for 40 minutes. Flip the loaf, then cover and cook for another 40 minutes. Remove the seitan from the dish and allow it to rest until cool enough to handle. Cut into bite-sized chunks.
- Prepare the dumplings. Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Cut in the soy margarine with a pastry cutter or a couple of knives until mixture has the consistency of coarse meal. Add the soy milk and stir until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Cover and keep in the fridge until needed.
- Prepare the stew. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, celery and carrots. Cook for 15 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add the broth, lemon juice, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper, then bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook 5 minutes.
- While the stew continues simmering gently, drop in small spoonfuls of dumpling batter. Cover and cook for 20 minutes without stirring or removing the lid.
- Once the dumplings are done cooking, stir them into the rest of the stew, then add the seitan. Cook for 1 minute or until heated through. Turn off the heat and stir in the parsley, then serve.