Winter Veggie Stew with Wholesome Lumpy Dumplings

This is one of my favourite recipes and the family get me to make this all the time. It’s a big, rich,
thick stew for the winter with lovely cheesy, herby dumplings, easy to make, healthy,wholesome and a proper chunky feed.

When you bung the veg into the stock, throw in a bouquet garni – you can buy these on the herb shelf
in the supermarket. It’s like a teabag of herbs, not very cool amongst chefs but it delivers the right
amount of herby flavour without someone ending up with an inedible leaf or twig in their mouths. And chestnuts are great.We don’t eat them much in this country,but they are easy to find in all big supermarkets, healthy, tasty and good for you and make the meat-free stew really hearty.

Serves 6
Easy

Ingredients

For the dumplings:
50g butter, softened
125g self-raising flour
40g Cheddar cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp thyme leaves
For the stew:
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, roughly diced
2 celery sticks, roughly diced
3 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp Marmite
1/2 tbsp tomato purée
2l hot vegetable stock
3 carrots, peeled and chopped into chunky pieces
4 parsnips, peeled and chopped into chunky pieces
½ head (about 450g) swede, peeled and chopped into chunky pieces
3 small sweet potatoes (500g), peeled and chopped into chunky pieces
2-3 rosemary sprigs, plus extra, chopped, to sprinkle
1 bouquet garni
150g orzo pasta
80g pack of cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Start by making the dumplings. Rub the butter into the flour and mix with the Cheddar and thyme. Add
just enough cold water to bring the mixture together to a soft dough and divide into 5–6 small dumplings.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5. Heat the oil in a large casserole dish and fry the onion and
celery over a low heat for 10 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the flour into the pan, whisking
constantly to make a roux. Add in the Marmite and tomato purée followed by the stock, a glug at a time,
whisking all the while to make a smooth base to the stew.

Throw the carrots, parsnips, swede, sweet potatoes, rosemary and bouquet garni into the dish and bring to a boil. Cook the stew, with the lid off, for 5-7 minutes. The vegetables should be cooking nicely but still have a bite to them. 

Rinse the orzo pasta well, in a sieve, and the pour into the casserole along with the chestnuts. Season well and place the dumplings on top of the casserole. Sprinkle over a little chopped rosemary and bake in the oven, with the lid off, for 20-30 minutes until the dumplings are puffed up and nicely cooked and the vegetables are tender. 

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