Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Stewed Tomatoes with Dumplings

A can and a pan. It's amazing what one can create with those two items!

I had intended to make a small pork roast with this dish, but the stewed tomatoes with the fluffy dumplings turned out to be a meal in itself. This could easily feed several adults. Next time, I may just add some white beans and more stock.

This is from my grandmother's old cook book. It is one of those recipes that is versatile and adaptable. A bit of spinach or kale? Go ahead. Perhaps some chopped bacon? Why not? And certainly a sprinkle of cheese.

Tomatoes and dumplings was a popular Depression-Era dish. Many people had their own garden. And they canned or "put up" their own tomatoes. I used store-bought, canned tomatoes and cut them up using kitchen shears. A mixture of summer-fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes is wonderful*--serve with grilled hot dogs ... no buns ... potato salad. 

Serve with a grating of yellow cheese or a pat of butter.

For the fluffiest dumplings, use White Lily Flour if you access to it; otherwise, use cake flour or a combination cake flour/all purpose flour. The recipe below made seven, light wonderful dumplings. It's important to remember that when making dumplings, they will absorb the juices from the stew, hence the importance of adding some stock.

The Tomato Stew

  • 1, 28-ouce can whole tomatoes, chopped, with juice (about 3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup butter (not oil or margarine)
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Pinch of allspice or 1-2 allspice berries, crushed (optional but recommended)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom pan. Add the onion, green pepper and celery. Cook until softened. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and their juice, the brown sugar and, if using, the allspice. Bring to a slow simmer and cook partially covered for about 30 minutes, adding stock as needed. Taste and season with salt and pepper (if you like things a bit spicy, add a bit of Tabasco Sauce)

The Dumplings

  • 1 cup flour (White Lily or cake flour recommended)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter
  • 1 tablespoon cold lard
  • Parsley, chopped (fresh or dried)
  • 2/3 cup whole milk

(Before making the dumplings, cover the stewed tomatoes and make sure it is on a medium simmer. Dumplings cook by "steaming.")

In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Cut in the cold butter and lard using a pastry blender. It doesn't have to be perfect. Stir in the milk and mix just until blended. Add the parsley.

Uncover tomatoes and drop six to seven large spoonfuls of batter onto the surface of the stewed tomatoes. Cover the pot and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes. They will almost double in size as they rise and puff out. They are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

This was even better the next day!

Fluffy dumplings and stewed tomatoes. Great by itself or a side to chicken,
beef or pork. The brown sugar turns the tomatoes a deep red.

Notes: I added a slice of smoked bacon to the stewed tomatoes as they cooked and then removed it before adding the dumpling batter. I also used Self-Rising, White Lily Flour but still added a bit more baking powder.

* If using fresh tomatoes, save the juice. If you need more juice, you have several options depending on pantry staples: use a bit of tomato juice or V8 Juice. To some tomato paste, blend water, or chicken, beef, ham, vegetable stock. To a few tablespoons water, shake in some flavored bouillon of your choice ... Best of all ... add some water to tomato powder.


Penny said...

Just found your blog through Thyme for Cooking. Always great to know another blogger from NC. I grew up in Michigan and know Saugatuck well. Love your recipes.

Kitchen Bounty said...

Penny: Thanks. Welcome and enjoy!