Saturday, 19 January 2013

Winter Vegetable Stew with Chive Dumplings

Well….the rest of the country seems to be up to its ears in snow, but so far all we’ve had is a  sprinkle which looks a little like icing sugar on the top of a mince pie. We are forecast to have more tomorrow, though, so I'll look forward to watching it from the warmth of a snug armchair.

Despite having almost no snow, people are already panic buying; I had to go out yesterday to pick up a prescription at the Doc’s and while I was out I thought I’d pop into Waitrose for some bananas and maybe a bit of salad for the weekend. I didn't bother....the queue of cars to get into the car park was snaking back along the access road onto the main road which meant the traffic lights were snarled up with cars queuing on all three approaches! Anyone would think the world was coming to an end!

Snow or no snow, it’s still absolutely freezing so last night I had a poke around in the fridge and came up with an assortment of root veg which, together with some red lentils and a few dinky little dumplings, made a very warming and filling dinner for two. It was based on a recipe I saw in a Waitrose magazine but I halved the quantities and adjusted it to fit the veg I had in. It warmed us up from the inside out and was just the thing for a cold January evening.

1 large carrot
1 large parsnip
¼ of a medium celeriac
1 leek
1tbsp olive oil
½ tsp dried thyme
50g red lentils
500ml stock
15ml balsamic vinegar
10ml worcester sauce

50g self-raising flour
25g Atora ‘light’ suet
1tbsp chopped chives
plenty of black pepper

Peel the carrot, parsnip and celeriac and cut into 2cm dice; top and tail the leek and shred coarsely. Put all the veg into a large pan (which is suitable for oven use) and sauté for 5 minutes in the olive oil then add the lentils, stock, thyme, balsamic and worcester sauce; bring to the boil then turn the heat down, pop a lid on and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.

Turn the oven on to 180C. In a small bowl mix the flour, suet and chives together, add plenty of ground black pepper then mix in 2 tablespoons of cold water until you have a soft but not sticky dough. Divide into five or six pieces and roll into small dumplings with floured hands. Put the dumplings on top of the vegetables and put into the oven, uncovered, for about 20 minutes until the dumplings are cooked.

Serves 2

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