It feels as though winter is well and truly upon us here in North East Scotland, so what better way to deal with it than making a huge pan of rich, vegetable packed, dumpling adorned stew. This is such a great one pot dish and will feed 6 hungry people. Using stout or porter gives the gravy a really rich dark colour and amazing flavour. The leftovers freeze well too!
For the stew…
3 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
1 large or 2 small onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbsp plain flour
500ml vegetable stock
500ml stout (I used a Porter from Sainsbury’s)
4 medium carrots, roughly chopped
1/2 a swede, peeled and diced
1 large punnet of chestnut mushrooms, quartered
750g baby potatoes, halved
1/2 a tube of tomato purée
1 tbsp marmite (optional)
A sprig of bay leaves
A sprig of fresh thyme
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the dumplings…
100g vegetable suet
200g self-raising flour
A generous pinch of salt
A large handful of fresh herbs, finely chopped. (I used parsley, sage and thyme)
Use the biggest oven-proof saucepan with a lid that you have for this recipe.
Fry off the celery, onion and garlic until starting to soften. Use a little oil if you wish, but I always tend to omit oils. Add a little water if it starts to brown too much.
Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and mix well. Add the vegetable stock, tomato purée, herbs and marmite and stir well to combine.
Add the remaining vegetables along with the stout, cover the pan and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes. Check for seasoning.
Make the dumplings by combining the flour, suet, salt, pepper and herbs in a large bowl. Slowly add the cold water and mix with a fork until you have a firm but pliable dough. Form into 12 balls and gently drop them onto the top of the simmering stew.
Cover the pan and simmer for a further 20 minutes. Brown the dumpling by finishing the stew in a hot oven or place briefly under a hot grill.
Enjoy! K x