Two-bean stew with corn dumplings

by Katie on December 19, 2011

Post image for Two-bean stew with corn dumplings

Every now and then I’ll come across a new ingredient that completely fascinates me. In this case, it is masa harina, a finely-ground corn flour with the essence of lime, used in Latin American cooking. I first bought it to make tamales. The tamales came out pretty well, but they require a bit more time and effort than I usually want to exert in making dinner, so I never made them again.

A few months ago when I was reading Peter Berley’s The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen, I came a cross a technique for making corn dumplings using masa harina. He includes them in a “Three Sisters Stew” which is amazing and a great reason to break out your pressure cooker (if you have one). I have a fondness for dumplings of any sort, and these are no exception.

Corn dumplings in the steamer basket

I’ve been making variations on this stew with corn dumplings for the past few months. Here’s one that’s easy to throw together on a weeknight. A bit of effort is required to make the dumplings, but it doesn’t take too long.

A few notes: the spices I use in this dish are always different. My husband enjoys making spice mixes, so in the version pictured above, I used his latest creation made by toasting a dried red pepper, cumin seeds, black pepper, caraway seeds, a small cinnamon stick, and all spice and grinding them up in a spice grinder. You can get creative with herbs and spices as well, although something as simple as chili powder would work just fine.

Finally, this recipe is very adaptable. Feel free to add additional veggies while the stew is cooking, such as carrots, squash, or greens.

Have you tried cooking with masa harina? What did you do with it? I’m also interested in any other recipes involving dumplings of any sort. :)

Oh, and here’s an update for those of you who read my post last week in which I wondered what to do with the radishes from my market (CSA) box: I figured out how to make them disappear. I just leave them out on the counter and my husband will snack on them…they are gone in no time!


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Marsha Gelt January 30, 2012 at 10:24 am

Love this Katie – you are a great writer! Will try recipes soon! Marsha


Katie January 30, 2012 at 10:29 am

Thanks Marsha for checking out the blog and for your kind words!


Maryanne Gobble Photography April 30, 2012 at 12:55 pm

My kids loved this recipe. We added some yogurt on top just because they eat yogurt on everything, not because it really needed it. Even posted some pictures at the bottom of this blogpost where we photographed our whole day. Endind with the boys sitting outdoors eating two bean stew (:


Carrie June 11, 2012 at 7:00 pm

I can’t wait to try this recipe. My husband is Mexican and we cook with masa harina all the time but I’ve never had it in dumpling form! I’m excited about this one! My husband avoids flour so masa harina is our go to ingredient when we are making tacos, quesadillas, empanadas, pupusas, and sopes. There is literally no easier way to make a tortilla: masa + water = corn tortillas! I find masa harina the perfect vehicle to carry lots of flavors because it’s pretty bland, so your hubby could sure go to town mixing up spices to liven up any of the above renditions!


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