Saturday, August 7, 2010

Kidney Bean Stew with Boiled Dumplings

Aside from the dumplings, this stew was phenomenal!  It's made from kidney beans cooked with a chunk of locally-raised ham, with carrots and sauteed onions and peppers added toward the end of cooking.  Pastured smoked ham is very different from the stuff you'd get at a supermarket; it's earthier, somewhat metallic, and less sweet and salty.  
I deviated from the recipe quite a lot.  The original was a Jamaican recipe in which the red beans are cooked down to a homogenous goop and served with white-flour dumplings.  I wanted something more whole.  I simmered the beans just until they were done and made the dumplings with freshly ground whole wheat flour.  Unlike the blueberry-peach grunt, in which the whole wheat dumplings were soft and fluffy, these unleavened dumplings were dull and heavy.  They have a very hearty (bagel-like) feel to them and definitely tasted better the second day, after the bran had some time to soften in the broth.  If I made this stew again and decided to put dumplings in it, I'd sneak some baking powder into the batter.  
All in all, the stew was yummy and nutritious, but I can't honestly say that it was anything close to what the authors intended.

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