I made my own mincemeat this year and had some leftover veggie suet so I thought I would make dumplings. I thought it was going to be complicated but they are easy peasy. The stew was a new recipe for me cobbled together from various online sources. First make a roux (melt a dollop or marg in a pan and stir in a tablespoonful of flour). Heat it for a couple of minutes then throw in some small onions (halved or quartered depending on their size). Stir it around so the onion gets covered in the roux. Chuck in some large chunky veg: carrots, celery, cauliflower… whatever you fancy. Add some stock, slowly so the roux doesn’t go lumpy. Add enough stock so that the veg are just peeking out – they will relax down as they cook and the stock reduces. Add some herbs (I added a few sprigs of thyme then took them out at the end). If you want a hearty stew then stir in a tin of butterbeans or some other bean (borlotti or cannelinni beans would be OK). Now leave it on a low heat while you make your dumplings. I used 125g of plain flour with 1 large teaspoonful of baking powder and 50g veggie suet and some fresh thyme. Mix it all together then add a couple of tablespoonfuls of warm water and rub together to form a soft dough. You may need more water but don’t let it get soggy. Roll the dough into 8-10 small balls and plop them onto the top of your stew. Stick the pan in the oven (lid off if you like a crusty dumpling) and leave it on a low heat (100°C) while you nip down the pub for a swift pint. When you get home the house will small amazing! Turn the heat up to 180°C for a few minutes while you heat up some peas or broccoli and dish up your dumpling stew piping hot! Bloody lovely on a miserable grey January evening!
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