Tonight's feast for the masses is chicken & dumplings--and probably one of the cheapest dishes you could possibly make, given how cheap all of its ingredients are.
Chicken & Dumplings
The chicken (or substitute a pound of thawed & frozen tofu)
1/4 cup gluten flour
1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp. onion powder
4-5 cups vegan chicken broth (or any broth if you don't care about chickeny flavor)
Mix the dry ingredients and add the water until it all flies together into a rubbery clump. Seriously, if you've never done this before it's one of the most bizarre substances you'll ever encounter. Knead it a bit to make sure it's well blended, then shape into a log as best you can. Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut 1/4" sections into simmering broth. Cover and cook for about an hour or until tender. Fish out the gluten (saving the broth) and chop it into whatever size pieces you want to find in your soup.
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup or more diced celery (I used the root, but stalks would be fine)
4-5 medium carrots, chopped
3-4 medium potatoes, in slightly less than 1/2" dice (so they cook right with the dumplings)
3-4 small parsnips, chopped
1/2 cup chopped white cabbage (optional--I just needed to use it up)
enough broth to make about 8 cups when you add the stuff from the gluten
celery leaves, parsley, herbs, salt, pepper to taste
Do the prep while the gluten is cooking, but wait until it's nearly done to start cooking this. Saute the onion until transparent. Add in the vegetables and "chicken" and saute a few minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a low boil. While it's getting there whip up the dumplings.
The dumplings (These are slightly modified from the recipe in Ann Jackson's excellent cookbook, Cookin' Southern--Vegetarian Style)
1 cup flour (actually, I'd try maybe 1/4 cup more)
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
EnerG prepared to equal 2 eggs
1/2 cup soy milk, water, or beer
1/4 cup parsley, minced (optional) and/or some onion/garlic powder, nutritional yeast, or other seasonings. Mine were actually a little bland with just the parsley.
Combine dry ingredients except parsley. When the soup is just reaching a boil, add in the soy milk, eggs, and parsley, stirring until just combined. Drop spoonfuls onto the soup in a single layer (you'll need a soup pot that's at least 10" in diameter to fit in all the dough in this batch) and cover tightly. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 10-12 minutes, then check the dumplings for doneness by picking into the middle of one with a fork. It should be fluffy and dry in there.
Important: The dumplings don't last very well. If you don't use all the dumplings on the first go-round you should fish them out before you even eat, and store them separately from the soup so they don't dissolve into it. I'm hoping that the extra flour would help with that, but I notice that my dumplings were starting to disappear rather quickly.
Gipsy Kings - Cantos De Amor - Un Amor