Meatfree Monday – Winter Vegetable Stew with Dumplings – Gluten Free Veganuary recipe

As promised I am posting up some of my favourite meals that are both gluten free and vegan. I know quite a few of my friends and readers are attempting Veganuary and many can’t eat gluten, and even if you can, these make great Meatfree Monday meals or just a nice change!

Last week I was in my local deli, they’re opposite Highgate tube and have plenty of great gluten free snacks if you’re in the area (not so much on the GF bread front but that’s probably for the best so I don’t spend even more in there!), as well as snacks they have some great specialty ingredients and I spotted a pack of gluten free, vegan suet… I’ve not had stew and dumplings in a couple of years and it is such a good winter dish, so I bought a pack and made some up!

Serves 4

Ingredients

200g dried green lentils

1tsp gluten free vegan bouillon powder

3 bay leaves

200g swede

1 1/2 medium onions

2 medium carrots

1 medium parsnip

1 medium baking potato

2 sticks of celery

3 garlic cloves

2tsp gluten free vegan bouillon powder

500ml water

300ml red wine

4 bay leaves

1 tbsp rosemary, either fresh or home dried

The leaves of 4 stems of thyme, either fresh or home dried

200ml canned chopped tomato, or crushed canned plum tomato

2 tsp gluten free plain flour

Large handful of chopped fresh parsley

Black pepper to taste

250g gluten free self raising flour

75g gluten free vegan diet

2 tsp English mustard powder

1 stem of leaves of either fresh or home dried rosemary

Leaves from 4-6 stems of either fresh or home dried

8 sage leaves, either fresh or home dried

1tsp crushed salt

Black pepper as you prefer, I like a lot!

Water

1. Pre soften the dried green lentils as per the instructions on the pack, with the addition of the bay and the gluten free vegan bouillon, I use the Marigold one, but I’m sure that there are others out there too! You could do this step in advance if you wanted to and then just refrigerate the lentils overnight until needed.

2. Fry the onions in a casserole pan over a medium heat until they start to turn translucent, then add the swede, carrots, parsnip, potato and celery in, (cut the vegetables as you wish, try to vary the shape a little so that it is more attractive and give some variety when you’re eating it!) along with the herbs and the gluten free vegan bouillon powder, mix well every couple of minutes until the bottom of the pan starts to brown, add the garlic roughly chopped, fry for another couple of minutes.

3. Add in the lentils, tomato, water and wine, cover and leave to cook for at least 45 minutes, until all the vegetables have softened and are close to the right texture for eating.

4. Take out a bit of the liquid from the stew, mix with the gluten free plain flour so that it forms a paste and mix back into the stew. Continue to cook for 20 minutes, while the sauce reduces and thickens. If it gets too dry you can always add more water.

5. To make the dumplings, mix the gluten free self raising flour, the vegan gluten free suet, the mustard, the salt, pepper and the herbs together, make sure that the mustard is broken down and not in lumps, slowly add water and mix until it forms a nice dough, if it is too wet, just add a touch more flour! Roll into 12 even sized balls on a baking tray, flatten slightly and place on a baking tray. Put in a preheated oven at gas 5 or 190C and cook for 20 minutes, until crispy on the outside.

6. Just before you serve the stew check the seasoning, and add the fresh parsley, roughly chopped and stir through.

So you may have noticed my notes that accompany some of the herbs in the ingredients list, I would recommend opting for fresh herbs or ones that you have hung to dry at home because I think the flavours of sage, thyme and rosemary that you get in jars of dried herbs are nothing like the real thing and in some cases bordering on the unpleasant. Cooking with lentils and pulses you need maximum flavour, and they just don’t deliver. I think I drive the Pet Finn mad with bay branches and bunches of herbs drying in our kitchen but I promise it makes a massive difference to the overall taste of the dish!

Also I prefer to make my dumplings crispy on a separate tray, I really hate squishy, soggy dumplings that are cooked on top of the stew, like who would have soggy croutons with their soup??? Stews are a bit mushy and you need some texture!

I thought the gluten free, vegan suet by Suma worked really well. I was a bit alarmed by the amount of fat that came out of the dumplings onto the tray, but they came out perfectly, crispy on the outside and spongy on the inside, ready to soak up the delicious sauce! The dumplings weren’t as golden looking as I remember my mum’s being, but I was surprised at how well converting/adjusting her recipe to gluten free flour, and my first time using a plant based suet went!

You can play around with the root vegetables that you use, but aim for a similar kind of amount, I’m not sure how I managed to have a lump of swede weighing in at almost exactly 200g but there we go! This would also work with leftover or pre-roasted root vegetables if you made too many for Sunday dinner, for example! Just add them in at the same time as the lentils, and you can also reduce the cooking time down quite a bit!

Aside from the suet, this was really just a recipe using standard winter vegetables and fridge and store cupboard basics, although I think I will start to have a pack of this suet in regular use, and have a go at some more gluten free, British classics!

B.xx

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