This is a very different vegetable stew just packed with flavor - and is one of my family's most requested and one of my very favorites. It is based on a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, "Tis the Season - A Very Vegetarian Christmas", by Nanette Blanchard. Although this comes from a Christmas cookbook, I like to serve this all year long, although it is especially comforting in the fall and winter months when it's cold. The original recipe calls for a puff pastry crust, which could make quite an elegant meal fit for company. However, I like to serve it with dumplings, so it's more everyday for my family. I'm sure it would be equally delicious without the dumplings - although my family would be upset if I didn't include them (the dumplings are usually fought over in my house). I've included just a basic dumpling recipe, but if you have one of your own, by all means please use it! You could also use some refrigerated biscuit dough if you have it on hand. This is something we might eat on a Sunday evening at our house, although the stew actually comes together quite quickly. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.