Monday, October 8, 2012

18 Miles Out: Vegetable Stew and Dumplings with Sauteed Greens

After Rick, Glenn and Hershel return to the farm with Randall, the young man's leg is saved with surgery. Almost immediately, the Group disagrees on what to do with him. Rick ultimately chooses to drive Randall 18 miles away from the farm and drop him off. Shane goes with him but before they reach their destination, Rick pulls over and confronts Shane about his affair with Lori.
He warns Shane that Lori, Carl and the baby are HIS family. Rick assures Shane that he does not love Lori. And is simply confused with the stress of their changed new world.
They arrive at the Department of Public Works and as they prepare to leave Randall, the boy begins screaming for them to come back. He assures them that he would do nothing to harm the Greene family as he had gone to school with Maggie. 
Shane returns to his original opinion that they should execute Randall. Rick wants to take Randall back to the farm for more discussions. When Shane hears Rick's plan, he attacks his former partner. The two men battle and in the chaos, a group of Walkers are alerted to their presence. Rick barely manages to escape with Randall, while Shane seeks refuge in a school bus. Rick and Randall quickly return and rescue Shane and the three head back to the Greene farm.
Beth has become despondent over the loss of her mother. She hints that she'd rather die than live to see the farm overrun. Maggie responds by watching Beth and refusing to leave her alone for even a moment. Andrea believes that because she too faced this moment (and had her choice taken from her by Dale), Beth should be allowed to choose freely. Promising Maggie that she will sit with Beth, Andrea promptly leaves the girl alone. Bet makes good on her desire to take her own life but only succeeds in making shallow cuts in her wrists. Hershel stitches the cuts carefully when he returns. An enraged Maggie threatens Andrea and warns her never to step foot in their house again.
More awkwardness no doubt followed when the Group finally sat down to their evening meal. With fresh meat being rationed for Hershel's family, the Group likely made a vegetable based version of chicken and dumplings. Collard greens with onions would be a thoroughly Southern accompaniment.

And when the dead rise; don't throw wrenches.

Vegetable Stew and Dumplings

1 medium sweet onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
4 stalks of celery, chopped
3-4 medium red potatoes, diced (but not peeled)
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 can peas, drained
1 cup vegetable broth
3 cups soy or almond milk
1 tsp each, sage, thyme and oregano
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
3 Tbsp. flour

1 can white beans or chickpeas, optional

1 cup whole wheat or unbleached wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1/2 cup almond or soy milk

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat (or medium coals), heat a tablespoon of oil. Add onions, garlic, celery, carrots and potatoes. Heat gently stirring often, until onions are transparent and soft. Add the broth (reserving 1/2 cup) and milk along with the spices and salt. Add the beans or chickpeas if you are using them. Bring to a simmer and cover. Simmer slowly for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.

In a separate, small bowl, stir the 3 Tbsp flour together with the reserved 1/2 cup of broth. Stir until there are no lumps. Whisk into simmering stew mixture and stir well. This will thicken the stew. Simmer gently while you prepare the dumplings.

Add all dumpling ingredients together in a medium bowl. Stir just until blended (don't overbeat mixture). Using a tablespoon, drop dumpling batter by spoonfuls into the simmering stew. Make sure that the entire surface of the stew is covered. 

Cover the Dutch oven with its lid. Allow to cook for about 15-20 minutes. The dumplings should be just a little shiny and puffed when they are done. Serve with Collard Greens.

Sauteed Collard Greens

3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Bacon Salt
1 medium onion, diced
1 bunch Collard Greens, washed and stems removed and sliced into strips
Kosher Salt and Pepper
Crushed red pepper, optional

In a saute or frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the diced onions and saute until transparent, about 6 minutes. Add the Bacon Salt and stir. Add Collard Greens. Season with salt and pepper. Cook gently, tossing often to blend well with onion mixture. Cook until tender; about 12 minutes. Stir in crushed red pepper if desired and serve hot.

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