Stew is a traditional winter meal to help warm the body on a cold day. Most stews involve meat as an ingredient, but this recipe doesn't - it's a one-pot, economical, healthy and easy-to-make meal.
In the not-too-distant past before the invention of freezers, a cook was limited to the winter vegetables that were available or that they had grown themselves. Today, there are more choices of traditional and exotic fresh and frozen vegetables available at all times of the year.
- Large saucepan with a lid
- Measuring jug
- Kitchen scales
- Wooden spoon
- Large mixing bowl
- Chopping board
- Sharp knife
Traditional vegetables can include: carrots, onions, swede, turnip. You can cheat and buy a bag of frozen mixed vegetables and add a couple more such as onions, tomatoes and mushrooms, which are not included. It takes a bit of experimenting to get the amount of vegetables about right, with enough, but not too many.
- 1-2 handfuls of frozen1 or fresh diced vegetables
- 1 medium potato, peeled & cut into 8 pieces (optional)
- 2 pints of water
- 55g (2oz) red split lentils
- 1 vegetable stock cube
The following recipe makes four dumplings
- 110g (4oz) self-raising flour
- 55g (2oz) shredded suet (beef or vegetable)
- Pinch of salt
- Ground mixed spice (optional)
- 6 - 8 fl oz water to bind
Pour two pints of water into the saucepan.
Add the red split lentils.
Add all the vegetables.
Place lid on saucepan and bring to boil.
If preferred the stew can be served without the dumplings. Once the stew has come to the boil, simmer for about 20 - 25 minutes. While waiting for stew to boil make the dumplings. If you wear any rings, it is suggested that you remove them, and put them somewhere safe for a few minutes.
Using a large bowl, add the flour, suet, pinch of salt and couple of shakes of mixed spice, and mix well using your fingers.
Starting with a few tablespoons, add enough water to bind the dough until it forms a soft (but not sticky) ball.
Separate the dough in half, and then half again, so that you have four even lumps.
Before placing them in the pan, you'll need to sprinkle the vegetable cube over the stew, and stir.
Roll the lumps of dough in your hand to form balls, and place them in the stew.
Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
To check if the dumplings are cooked, after 20 minutes, gently press one; if it bounces back up, it's cooked.
Serve and enjoy.
After serving you will find there is some left over; once cooled this can be put in a container in the fridge and heated up the following day as a delicious vegetable soup.