This is a failsafe basic dinner. I wasn’t going to blog it because I thought it’d be too simple and dare I say ‘boring’ to be of any interest to anyone, but just because we eat this virtually every week during the winter, doesn’t mean to say that everyone does; and it would be rude not to share the love. There was me thinking everybody ate paprika stew with dumplings… and now indeed you all can because here is my recipe. To me, this dish is my veggie version of one of my favourites as a child. A traditional English meat stew and dumplings was a regular in our house. The rich tasty gravy and the fluffy stodgy comforting dumplings take me right back, and I don’t miss the meat one little bit. Making this for my family and seeing them wolf it down, hopefully means I’ve created a fond food memory for them too.
This dish is not ‘boring’ at all, it is delicious, but it is very basic veggie fare, beans and veggies and tinned tomatoes, a generous sprinkle of smoke paprika to liven it up and some light fluffy dumplings on top. This can be on the table within an hour, with very little slaving over a hot stove, it’s perfectly possible to go off and do something else while this cooks, returning only to give it a quick stir and sort the dumplings out. Simple as stew.
Severs 4 generously
For the stew:
- 1 tbsp of refined coconut oil (10p)
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped (20p)
- 3 cloves of garlic,finely chopped (15p)
- 600g of squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks (67p)
- 2 medium carrots, sliced (35p)
- 100g of red lentils (27p)
- 1 tbsp of smoked paprika – sweet or hot – or a mixture to get the spice just right for you (50p)
- 250g of cooked pinto beans (or you could substitute with chickpeas) (£1)
- 1 400g tin of tomatoes (89p)
- 750 ml of vegetable stock (20p)
- salt and black pepper
For the dumplings:
- 60g of vegetable suet (33p)
- 120g of brown self raising flour (16p)
- 4 tbsp of nutritional yeast (38p)
- 1 tbsp of dried oregano (36p)
- Salt and black pepper
- 6-8 tbsp of water
Fry the onions and garlic in a large deep pan, after 5 minutes, add the carrot, squash, lentils, paprika, pinto beans, tomatoes and vegetable stock. Stir to make sure all the ingredients are combined and simmer on a medium heat for 20 minutes.
While the stew is simmering, prepare your dry ingredients for the dumplings. I usually make these straight in the tray that sits on top of my scales. Measure out all of the dry ingredients and mix them well to combine them.
Check the stew, when the carrot and squash are tender season with salt and pepper and turn the heat down to low, then you are ready to make and add the dumplings. Mix the water into the dumpling mix little by little until you have a dough, do not over mix, the dough does not need to be kneaded and should be firm and not too sticky. With a desert spoon, shape the dough into roughly 8 balls and drop them straight to the top of the stew. Put a lid on the pan and leave to simmer and steam for 20-25 minutes. This will give you soft fluffy dumplings.
If you prefer a crunchy topping on your dumplings and you happen to have used an oven proof pan, pop the pan, uncovered, into a hot oven for 20 minutes instead. (You may need to add 100ml more liquid to the stew before doing this, so that it does not dry out in the oven.)
This can be served on its own, or with some steamed greens such as tender stem broccoli or shredded savoy or kale.
This complete meal costs £5.56 to make, which is just £1.39 a portion. No wonder I make this most weeks!
This could easily be adapted for the slow cooker, by throwing all the stew ingredients into the stoneware and cooking on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours, then putting the dumplings in on high for the last hour of cooking. Alternatively, the stoneware could be transferred, uncovered, to a hot oven to cook the dumplings for 20 minutes.