There is something rather satisfying about cooking to the seasons, in line with the weather – hot or cold, or with your mood – fresh and light or warm and comforting.
Stew and Dumplings summed up my mood the other night. The curtains were drawn, it was raining and I felt like eating something hearty and dough-like.
If you look carefully, some shop-brought dumpling mix is suitable for vegans (possibly from the Co-op if my memory serves me correctly). But I haven’t been able to pick up any recently – so I thought it was time to just make my own.
They are flavoured with shallot and herbs and cooked in a deep, rich, gravy-based sauce with carrot, courgette and potato. I challenge you not to feel all cosy inside after a portion of them for dinner!
Vegetable Stew with Herb and Shallot Dumplings
Preparation/cooking time 1 hour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
250g/9 oz self-raising flour
125g/4½ oz vegan margarine
4 sage leaves, finely chopped
Small handful parsley, finely chopped
Salt & pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 small onion, chopped
2 courgettes, chopped into disks
1 carrot, chopped into disks
3 small potatoes, cubed
1 litre vegetable stock
4 tbsp vegetarian gravy granules
½ tsp yeast extract
2 bay leaves
Salt & pepper
1. To make the dumplings, begin by frying off the shallot in oil until soft. This will take a couple of minutes. 2. In a bowl, rub the margarine into the flour and add in the herbs and shallot. Season with salt & pepper. Taste a bit of raw dumpling to test the flavour.
3. Knead together with your hands so that all the fat combines with the flour and make 12 dumpling balls. Set them aside.
4. For the stew, fry the garlic and onion in oil until soft. Now add in your vegetables and continue to cook for a few minutes.
5. Transfer the vegetables to a large pot with a lid and pour the stock over the top of them. Mix in the gravy granules, yeast extract and bay leaves. Stir well.
7. Simmer the stew for 30 mins, before adding the dumplings and continuing to cook until they are swollen and tender.
8. Serve in deep wide bowls.