1/22/13

Red Wine Stew with Leek Dumplings

Not to sound complainy or anything, but I have never lived anywhere with such gleefully bad weather as Berlin. (And I've lived in Brussels, where it rains approximately 363 days a year.) Wintertime is really a struggle- no one wants to leave the house, everyone is getting sick or getting over being sick, and the few hours of daylight are dominated by bone-chilling temps and gloomy gray skies. Plus your bike freezes all the time, and all the stores close early because they think you ought to be inside anyways. (They are correct.)

HOWEVER. I am in an oddly upbeat mood and it annoys me deeply that the weather won't bother to even try matching me. (The Secret is bullshit people. You do not manifest your own reality.) Luckily, bitching about the weather only takes up, like, 50% of my mental energy. The rest is dedicated to devouring new books about alchemy, Yugoslavia, Victorian female authors, or whatever else peaks my promiscuous curiosity, and thinking about what to eat for dinner.

Yesterday I decided to create a thick, wintry stew containing three things that cheer me up in these dark times: lots of red wine, crispy leeks, and plenty of herbs. And why not some easy dumplings? It was excellent, and I'll give you the "recipe" but its gonna be pretty fast and loose and should be more of a idea-sparker because a) it was quite improvisational and b) might have drank a bit of the wine myself....


Red Wine Stew with Leek Dumplings
Stew:
Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 leek, white and white-ish parts, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, diced
circa 2 c. mushrooms of any sort, sliced
4 medium potatoes, loosely chopped (about 2 cups)
4 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds 
3-4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 or 1 teaspoon each of the following (that you have handy):
      -smoked paprika
      -thyme
      -sage
      -rosemary
2 cups drinkable red wine
2 cups veg broth (or water and a veg bouillon cube) 
1 T. white miso
 1 14oz. can white beans
3 T. flour

Dumplings:
1 leek, white and inner green parts, chopped
1 c. flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
pinch salt
3/4 c. soymilk

1.) Set up your stove with one frying pan and one large pot or Dutch oven. Set the frying pan to medium-low and drizzle with olive oil. When hot, add in leeks and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are wilted and some are browning a bit. Season with salt and remove from heat.

2.) While leeks are cooking you can already get going on the stew. Set large pot to medium heat and drizzle with olive oil. When hot, add in onions and the other leek, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in garlic and cook for a few minutes more before adding in mushrooms. Let the mushrooms brown for a bit (5-7 min.) and then add in the carrots, potatoes, tomatoes and herbs. Season with salt and pepper, and stir to coat vegetables with spices. Add in wine, broth, and miso paste. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and let cook, stirring ocassionally for about 30 minutes.

3.) After stew has reduced, taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. In a small bowl, spoon out a bit of the broth and mix together with flour until no lumps remain. Add back into stew, and cook for 5-10 minutes while you prepare dumplings.

4.) For dumplings, mix flour, salt and baking powder together in a bowl. Add in about a cups worth of leeks (eyeball it- you can reserve the rest of the leeks for garnish) and stir to coat with flour. Add in soymilk and stir together until "just mixed." Dough should not be too wet- add in more flour if necessary to make it sticky but not liquidy.

5.) Drop tablespoons-full of leek dough into simmering stew. (No need to be too precise, they won't turn out pretty anyways.) Cover, and cook for another 15 minutes or until dumplings are cooked through.

Serve a bowl of stew with a few leek dumplings and some extra crispy leeks as garnish. Oh yeah, and wine. Lotsa wine.

Song of the Day: Passion pit- Take a Walk

11 comments:

Amey said...

I've heard many a tale about the legendary gloom of Berlin winters... I"m glad your magical dumpling powers are keeping away the blues. Last year at this time, I was in Munich and Austria - and the glorious freezing snowy-ness of it was just wonderful. I loved it so much and I can't stop thinking about this year. Meanwhile, here in California, it's 74 degrees and I am wearing flip flops at the beach. That's fun and all, but I miss the wintery intensity I fell in love with last year. It was so quiet.

covnitkepr1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julien BLANC said...

Really? Weather WORSE than in Brussels? Oh my goodness! Jacques Brel, famous singer from Brussels used to say "Avec un ciel si gris qu'un canal s'est pendu, avec un ciel si gris qu'il faut lui pardonner, avec un ciel si bas qu'il fait l'humilité'. Have you already been living in Bergen (Norway)? I guess Berlin, Brussels and Bergen are both in competition...

Shane Palus said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Shane Palus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shane Palus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shane Palus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shane Palus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shane Palus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shane Palus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shane Palus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.