Seasons’ Eatings: Late Summer Vegetable Stew with Jalapeño Cheddar Dumplings
By Stephanie Tickner
Washington, NH – Early fall in New Hampshire….cool, foggy mornings, colors emerging from the trees, apples, potatoes, cravings for comforting food….and for our family, a canoe camping weekend to nearby Pillsbury State Park in Washington, NH. It can be hard to get a remote canoe camping site at Pillsbury. The sites fill up fast. We were grateful to be able to reserve a site back in the spring for the autumnal equinox weekend. The timing was so perfect because we all needed an escape after a few weeks with the kids back at school. Plus, the bugs were mostly gone.
Adding to the fun was my realization that my fall turn on RecipeRelay would coincide with our backcountry camping weekend. After hearing from Amri that she would be creating a slow cooked, one pot Malaysian curry called Gulai Ketam dan Nenas (Crabs and Pineapple in Spicy Gravy) that included shallots, onions and garlic sautéed in oil, with green chilies for the final garnish, I decided to relay from those ideas and cook a late summer, early fall vegetable stew with jalapeño cheddar dumplings.
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I started by visiting the Green Wagon Farm stand in Keene, NH for their new potatoes that are now ready. Next I stopped by Hannafords Supermarket and picked up shallots, a block of Vermont Cabot garlic and herb cheddar cheese and cans of organic kidney and cannellini beans. Then, on the way home I picked up my weekly vegetables from the Village Roots CSA in East Alstead, including zucchini, summer squash, yellow beans, carrots, late season kale, jalapeño peppers, onions and garlic. I also collected basil and chives from our garden.
To make things easier for camping, I measured out the dry ingredients for the dumplings into a ziplock bag ahead of time to bring on the trip. I used my favorite dumpling recipe from my mother’s old Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book (1953 Edition, 1962 Revised). I adapted the recipe by using whole wheat King Arthur flour, and since I prefer much more seasoned foods than those in the cookbook, I thought garlic and herb cheddar cheese and a fresh jalapeño pepper would be welcome, warming additions to a traditional dumpling.
On the last Friday afternoon of summer, we packed our camping gear, food, canoe, kayak, the kids and three dogs into our car and drove the short distance to Pillsbury. Then we made several trips across the pond and through the “Narrows” to our wonderfully secluded lakeside site. We awoke on Saturday to the call of loons and some incredibly dense fog. That was a perfect reason to start the campfire early to take off the chill, and to begin my outdoor cooking adventure.
Over the course of the day, I chopped the vegetables I had gathered the day before, sautéed them in olive oil in a large pot on the grate over the open fire, then eventually added broth and then the dumplings. From my outdoor kitchen I watched loons come and go and saw the fog burn off to show the fall colors in the trees. I chopped and stirred and got smoke in my eyes as I blew on the fire to keep it going. I was humbled by how easy we have it in our modern kitchens with stoves and hot running water. By the end of the day, however, I had prepared a hearty, comforting, hot pot of stew that warmed us all from the inside as we sat by the fire to eat. It was a very special experience indeed.
Later Summer Vegetable Stew with Jalapeño Cheddar Dumplings
Prep time: 20 minutes for stew and 10 minutes for dumplings
Cook time: 50 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
- 6 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic, chopped and divided
- About 2 cups each of a variety of late summer or fall vegetables, chopped. I used baby potatoes, carrots, summer squash, zucchini, yellow beans and kale
- 8 cups water with favorite vegetable bullion (follow package instructions for amount), or 8 cups vegetable stock. Vegetables should be covered
- 1 can each, organic kidney and cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 Tablespoon corn starch
- ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh chives, chopped
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ cup milk
- 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
- 1 cup shredded garlic and herb cheddar cheese
For the stew
- Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat in a large soup pot.
- Add chopped onion and shallot. Sauté, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Add four cloves of chopped garlic and sauté about 2 minutes.
- Add chopped hearty vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots, sauté, stirring frequently until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add remaining chopped vegetables, such as zucchini, summer squash, yellow beans and kale. Sauté, stirring frequently until wilted and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add canned beans to pot.
- Add water and bullion, or broth. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
- When vegetables are tender, stir in chopped fresh herbs.
- In a small bowl, stir 1 Tablespoon corn starch into 1 cup cold water. Once corn start is dissolved, pour mixture into simmering soup. Bring soup back to a boil, stirring constantly until broth thickens, about 2 minutes.
For the dumplings
- Once broth has thickened, reduce heat to a low simmer.
- Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat in a small skillet.
- Add chopped jalapeño and remaining two cloves of chopped garlic and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Sift together flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl.
- Combine milk and remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a small bowl.
- Add milk and oil to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.
- Gently mix in the garlic, jalapeño pepper and grated cheese just until incorporated.
- Drop tablespoon size balls of dumpling dough into the simmering stew.
- Cover pot. Bring stew to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer 12 -15 minutes until dumplings are set.
Serve stew with one or two dumplings in soup bowls. A small salad would be a tasty side.
Stephanie Tickner lives with her family in Marlow, a small, rural town in southwest New Hampshire. She loves cooking vegetarian food and has been working to include more local and organic food in her meals. She enjoys camping and spending time outdoors with her family.