CSA | Bulgarian Tomato Dumpling Soup

One of the things that I like most about fall is the return of soup-eating. There's something special about gathering around a candle-lit dinner table and slurping down a bowl of warm soup goodness when it's cold and rainy outside and the sun is setting at 6:00 p.m. The first cookbook that I ever bought was a soup bible and we consider ourselves to be pretty well-versed. This one knocked our socks off. Spicy tomato perfection with hearty chewy dumplings. Yum.

We made it awhile back during a week that was hectic and for which I had neglected to make a menu (I still haven't gotten back into that groove!). I had a quart of grape tomatoes and a couple of Big Boys from our garden that were on their last legs, so when 5:00 rolled around I knew they would be the beginning of dinner that night. Chop chop chop and into the pot they went. This recipe looks more complicated than it really is. It does take awhile to cook (35 minutes of cooking time total), but it's so worth it. I've found myself in an identical situation today (grape tomatoes, no meal plan) so I'm pretty sure this one is making a repeat appearance. Care to join me?

Bulgarian Tomato Dumpling Soup
Adapted (only barely) from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant

For the soup...
1 large onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 TBS. coconut oil
6 C. tomatoes, chopped
3 tsp. chili powder
2 TBS. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 C. tomato juice or chicken stock (or a mixture of the two)

For the dumplings...
2 Tbs. butter, at room temp.
2 eggs, separated
1/4 C. couscous
1/4 C. boiling water
3/4 C. whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dill (dried)
1/3 C. milk

chopped fresh parsley and grated sharp cheddar cheese to garnish

1. Heat the coconut oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until soft. 
2. Add the tomatoes and cook until soft.
3. Add the chili powder, flour, salt, and pepper and mix to coat all the veggies.
4. Pour in the stock slowly while whisking to dissolve the flour.
5. When well mixed, blend in a blender in batches and return to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

While the soup simmers, prepare the dumplings.
1. Using a mixer, cream the butter and egg yolks until smooth.
2. Place the couscous in a separate bowl, pour the boiling water over it, cover, and allow to sit for 5 min.
3. Add the flour, salt, dill and milk to the butter mixture and blend well. After the 5 min., add the cooked couscous to the mix.
4. In a separate bowl (and with very clean beaters!) beat the egg whites until stiff and then fold them into the couscous mixture.
5. Once the soup has cooked for the 20 minutes, drop rounded tablespoons of the dumpling batter into it.
6. Cook, covered, for 15 minutes. The dumplings will rise to the top and you can scoop one out to test for doneness.
7. Serve topped with fresh parsley and cheddar cheese.