Thursday, January 15, 2009

Aunt Jo’s Peas and Dumplings

Thanks to Rosanna Cafarella Greco and Janice Crossen for making sure I got this family favorite.

Aunt' Jo's original recipe for Peas and Dumplings

2 T. olive oil

1 small to medium onion chopped

1 clove chopped garlic

1 can (14 ½ oz) fat free chicken broth

1 can (15 oz.) large peas

¼ C. tomatoes

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

2 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. parsley

1 tsp. basil

Dash cinnamon

½ tsp. nutmeg

Pour the olive oil into a non-stick pot. Sauté the onion until soft. Add the chopped garlic and cook for one minute. Add all the other ingredients, and cook from 20 to 30 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the dumplings.

Note from Bill: You can make most pans pretty much non-stick by pre-heating the pan till you can feel the heat a bit uncomfortably when your hand is held inside but not touching the pan. Then add whatever fat you plan to use. The fat should be cool to cold. (Do not heat a pan that you plan to use olive oil in high enough to cause smoking. You lose many of the good attributes of olive oil when it is taken to the smoke point.) This is not foolproof, but it significantly reduces sticking.


Beat 2 eggs in a dish. Add 1/3 cup of seasoned breadcrumbs. Mix together. Add more crumbs, if necessary, so that the mixture will stick together. Using a spoon and your finger, form the mixture into the shape of the spoon making sure that it will hold together.(This is called a canelle) Drop into the pea soup spoonful by spoonful until you have used all of the mixture. The dumplings will swell as they cook so be sure not to make them too large. Simmer the soup 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with grated cheese.

Serving size: 2 servings.

I would think that if this is an old recipe, it would likely have been made with fresh(or on our case frozen as a substitute) peas originally, and that there would have been freshly made broth as well.

This is Janice Cafarella Crossen's variation.

1 clove garlic

1/2 medium size onion

2 Tablespoons Olive oil

1 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes

Dash of the following herbs:

Basil, parsley, cinnamon, nutmeg

Salt and pepper

Saute garlic and onion in olive oil. Add tomatoes, herbs, salt, pepper to taste and simmer.

(Sorry, I have no specific amounts of herbs)

Add a #12 size can of peas and gently simmer.

To make The dumplings:

2 eggs

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/4 tsp. Garlic powder

Black pepper

Dash of the following herbs:

Cinnamon, nutmeg (heavier on the nutmeg)

1/2/tsp. dried parsley

1/2 tsp. dried basil

3 or 4 Tbs. grating cheese (use less if it's Romano as it has a stronger flavor)

In a bowl, beat the eggs. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to mix. Shape the mixture into tablespoon size balls and drop into the gently simmering tomatoes. Make sure that the tomatoes are only gently simmering so the dumplings do not break up in the cooking process.

Cook 5 minutes until the dumplings are done.

A note from Janice:

As a small child I remember visiting Aunt Jo and Uncle Tony. Most of the time we just popped in on them without calling ahead. Aunt Jo would run into the kitchen and whip up this delightful recipe. It doesn't take much time to cook this recipe. It brings back wonderful memories of visiting Aunt Jo and Uncle Tony. I hear other family members are looking for this recipe also. It was difficult getting specific amounts for recipes from Aunt Jo. She would say just a pinch of this or that ingredient. When Aunt Jo was telling you how to cook a recipe she would say “If you got it you put it. If you no got it you no put it”. I was too young to watch her cook these recipes and to get more specific details about measurements. I have very fond memories of the days visiting Aunt Jo and Uncle Tony.

Thanks for your contribution Janice Cafarella Crossen

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