Curried Root Vegetable Chowder with Dumplings

November 20, 2008



Years ago (oops, make that a decade), during the tumultuous year after my starter marriage dissolved, I lived with my friend Gemini I.  As two single thirty-somethings interested in social events or activities that might bring us into contact with eligible men, we decided to try out some cooking classes (what were we thinking?  We might as well have looked for guys in the pantyhose department at Macy’s.  .  . oh, wait a sec: apparently, in Australia, that’s exactly where you might meet some guys these days). 

In any case, we signed up for one series run by a well-heeled Toronto chatelaine who’d attended Le Cordon Bleu (it was only a weekend seminar, but she never told us that) and decided to teach classes out of her home.  It took just one evening, and I was hooked; after that, Gemini I and I attended about half a dozen more classes as well.  It’s not that I actually learned very much; and the food, while fine, wasn’t the most spectacular I’d had, either. But oh, what a house!

Oh my, how I envied her house.  Situated beside a thickly forested ravine on a cul-de-sac in the tony Rosedale area, Ms. Culinati’s residence was a massive, ivy-covered, stone-and-brick Tudor style mansion of at least 5,000 square feet, almost more like a museum than a home.  At over 100 years old, the building’s interior had been completely renovated and rendered ultra-modern inside.  The setup was perfect for cooking classes: after passing beneath the towering entryway, we participants filed across the open-concept first floor (tiled in marble), toward a state-of-the-art kitchen just off the entrance.  There were six cushy stools lined up against one side of a wide, grey and black granite peninsula, which also divided the room and separated us from the cooking area. 

Ms. Cordon Bleu held forth on the opposite side of the counter behind the built-in stainless steel stovetop, prepping ingredients and chattering about the best shop in Paris to buy Le Creuset, the plumpest, most perfect berries at All the Best on Summerhill (even back then, I recall that a pint–about  500 ml.–of strawberries cost over $4.00 at that store), or how she flew to New York last weekend to pick up the very best fleur de sel (because really, you simply couldn’t use anything less).  

Despite the fact that our personal orbits existed in completely different universes, I still enjoyed the recipes, the skillfully selected wines that accompanied them, and the stolen glances around the rest of the house as I ostensibly attended to our cooking.  And, of course, it was always rewarding to have an evening out with Gemini I.


Most of the dishes I encountered in those classes, I will never make again, either because they contain ingredients I no longer eat, or because they contain ingredients far too extravagant for everyday consumption (last I heard, her courses had morphed into all-out travel tours, wherein participants flew to Tuscany for a week to cook and live together in a villa.  Who are these people, and how can I be written into the will? Just asking).

Still, almost despite herself, in one class Ms. C.B. provided us with this recipe for Curried Root Vegetable Chowder with Dumplings.  And while the original soup contained chicken broth, butter and wheat flour, it was a cinch to convert.

I’ve loved this chowder since the first time I slurped it back in the 1990s.  It’s one of the easiest soups you’ll ever make (and while the dumplings are marvelous and do elevate the broth an echelon, you can just as easily forego the sophistication, toss in some elbow pasta, and happily spoon this up for a quick weekday dinner). Once the veggies are chopped, it’s a matter of a quick sauté, a splash of prepared broth, and a sprinkling of ONE spice: mild curry powder. It also makes use of an underused, but very tasty, root veggie: celery root.

It sounds almost too simple, I know; but believe me, the result will astonish you. The varying levels of sweetness from the different roots, along with the whisper of curry, combine for a soothing, warming and entirely captivating dish. This is one soup you’ll want to stay at home for. In fact, it’s the perfect soup to charm those eligible guys–that is, once you find them. 

This month’s No Croutons Required is asking for soups or salads with pasta.  I’m hoping these dumplings count. The event was started by Lisa and Holler and is this month being hosted by Holler.

Curried Root Vegetable Chowder with Dumplings

(adapted from a very old recipe from The Art of Food Cooking School)



This is the perfect soup to serve to guests; the dumplings elevate this to a fancier level, yet the soup is down to earth and very appealing.  For a gluten-free option, omit the dumplings or use your favorite dumpling recipe with GF flour.



38 Responses to “Curried Root Vegetable Chowder with Dumplings”

  1. VeggieGirl Says:

    Glad you still enjoyed the recipes! 🙂 I greatly enjoy looking at that chowder!!

  2. Shelby Says:

    Yum Yum Yum! I love dumplings in soup!

  3. Astra Libris Says:

    Oooohhhh, these dumplings sound incredible!! So beautifully soothing for the chilly weather!

    I just posted, quoting a recipe of yours and writing about how wonderful your blog is… 🙂 I hope ’tis OK with you… 🙂

  4. Johanna Says:

    it really is getting too hot for panty hose in Australia at this time of year – even for men – but I will be looking out for those guys in their new stockings! Oh and the soup sounds fascinating – must try it sometime!

  5. Joanna Says:

    this is such a beautiful dish. i love the heartiness and thickness that potatoes give soup… especially sweet potatoes. i love those things.

  6. shellyfish Says:

    Can I just say I love you? This was a great – and hilarious – read.
    As I walk by some of the “estates” here I find myself asking the same question “who are these people and how do I inherit from them?”!
    At least I can find solice in soup!

  7. jessica~ Says:

    Mmmmmm, I think I’ll be making this soup for supper this weekend. Yum!

  8. Jes Says:

    Living in the old-money “estate” area of my city, I know exactly what you mean about figuring out how to get into the will! Cooking tours to Tuscany? Crazy!

    The soup look amazing! I love the use of seasonal root veggies too. 🙂

  9. Ricki Says:

    Astra Libris,
    Thanks so much (*blush*)! Of course I had to smile at your comment–I mean, I can’t imagine who’d respond, “No, it’s NOT okay that you wrote wonderful things about my blog”, right??! I’m so glad you tried/liked the cabbage dish, too! 🙂

  10. Wow. I hope that Mantyhose thing stays in Australia.

    I love how colorful and “sunny” this soup looks. It’s a “brighten up your day” soup! Thanks for the recipe!

  11. holler Says:

    What a gorgeous chowder and I really enjoyed the story. You described it all very well. I could just picture you cooking away in that mansion.
    I have added the chowder to our line-up of this month’s No Croutons Required. The line-up and voting poll will be posted later today.

  12. BitterSweet Says:

    I’ve actually never made a soup with dumplings before (unless you count matzo balls)… But maybe that will change soon, since this recipe looks really good!

  13. Vegyogini Says:

    That soup looks incredibly delicious!

  14. Lisa Says:

    Thanks for this entry Ricki. I adore dumplings in soup. Such a healthy selection of veggies too.

  15. ttfn300 Says:

    hmm, i don’t know if i like dumplings in soup… might just have to give it a try!! 🙂

    and, umm, i’ll go on an all-out travel tour!! maybe i’ll put that on my xmas list-hehe 😉

  16. If it tastes half as good as it looks, I’m sold!

  17. how ’bout I come live with you for a while and you feed me yummy soup???

  18. amey Says:

    wow Ricki,
    that soup sounds and looks so delicious. Dumplings! What fun.

    thanks for the email. I’m so glad you enjoyed the Ritter Sport – pretty yummy,huh? It was so fun sending out special treats!


  19. Sue Says:

    Did a bit of a double take when I saw currants in the recipe for the dumplings… this would be a major surprise ingredient in the UK for a savoury dish, but do you know, I’m tempted… just on my way out to the shops as it happens, so currants may just slip into my trolley. Thanks for another great post Ricki! Those man-tights, hmm…

  20. Celine Says:

    simple is often best, and this chowdah definitely proves it!

  21. Linds Says:

    Looks like a great recipe now that the weather is getting colder!

  22. Diann Says:

    I’m glad the dumplings count as pasta because that soup is beautiful!

  23. Andrea Says:

    Perfect. Our CSA box was full of roots and this looks like a wonderful way to use them. And celery root just happens to be my most favorite of all root vegetables.

  24. melody Says:

    Sign me up too! wow… I wish I could goto Italy for a cooking class..

    The stew looks amazing! Love the coconut oil and currants in the dumplings..

  25. meg wolff Says:

    I LOVE your posts. Always a great story and I will definitely try this recipe. When I do I’ll post it and link it back to you!! I voted for you too.

  26. Jesse Says:

    Those dumplings look sooooooo good. My tummy’s rumbling now… =(

  27. Cakespy Says:

    This is comfort food at its absolute best!!

  28. this is so elegant and colorful!

  29. Lizzie Says:

    That’s it! I’m making this tonight.

    (loved the story too… 🙂

  30. Lisa Says:

    This does sound so very delicious! I shouldn’t be looking through food blogs so close to dinner time. It makes my own planned selection for the evening look very pale by comparison.

  31. I often put chocolate chips in my pancakes, but I haven’t done it yet with the crepes… I’m afraid to try because of the uber-thin batter.

  32. Celine Says:

    I’m losing my mind: I was so sure I left a comment on your post already. help? feed me something good like this, to help the neurons?

  33. Ricki Says:

    The lovin’ goes both ways 🙂 And ah, yes, if only we could befriend those people (or, wait, BECOME those people!!). 😉

    Yes, absolutely, matzo balls count! These are almost the same thing. . . sometimes they come out soft and fluffy; sometimes they come out hard! 😉

    Come on over–you’re welcome any time. As long as YOU feed ME your yummy alternative desserts!

    I’m waaaaay behind on posting, but since I managed to photograph the Ritter sport before devouring it, I will be posting about it!

    Thanks so much! And glad you liked the story, too 🙂

    You are not losing your mind. You DID already comment–right there under Sue’s. But your comments are just like your recipes: one can never have enough! 🙂

  34. Soup looks great and I just love reading your stories!

  35. sometimes I think our stomach or brains or BOTH are connected. I was just telling a friend I should take a stab at making apple dumplings and she says “you should do some sort of veggie one too!” and here you are, rockin’ it out.

  36. Liz Says:

    What in the world is wrong with me that I am just now finding your blog?! I’m a fan for life already!

  37. Shawna Says:

    Has anyone tried this with gluten-free flours? I’ll do some experimenting but if someone already has a suggestion, that would be lovely! I am just not sure what would be the best flour for a dumpling.

    Thank you!

  38. jessica Says:

    This looks AMAZING, but I’m wondering about gluten-free flours too. Did anyone do any trial runs? Fingers crossed!

    (BTW Ricki: the recipe is tagged as gluten-free, but the spelt flour does have gluten so you might want to re-tag or mention a GF flour that can be substituted.)

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