This is going to be a quick one. During the winter we cook lot of casserole style dishes. Whether that’s game casserole, beef and ale stew or sausage casserole. They are simply so nice and warming at this time of year. You need to serve them with some form of starchy carbs though. One of the obvious choices would be potato mash. However I prefer to achieve best results with minimum effort. Especially when it comes to cleaning and tidying up after cooking. And that’s where the dumplings come in to play. They allow to cook both your main protein and carb in one pot. Result! Dumplings were cooked much more in the days when potatoes were not widely available. They essentially allowed one meal to feed more mouths at the time when protein was expensive and difficult to obtain. Dumplings cooked in the same pot as your main dish soak up lot of flavours and aromas and become simply irresistible.
- 150g self raising flour (or 150g plain flour and 2 tsp baking powder mixed together)
- 60g shredded suet (suet gives best results in my opinion but you can substitute it with lard or butter if you must)
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp fresh herbs chopped (I really like thyme leaves as they work with most stews and casseroles that we cook)
- ½ tsp English mustard (this is my preferred choice but you can substitute it with other fairly strong tasting mustard if you prefer, good Dijon mustard should be ok)
- Around 100 – 120g very cold water
- Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Mix in the herbs.
- Add the suet and rub it in lightly to ensure the fat pieces are covered with the flour.
- Add the water and mustard. Start with less than 100g water and add more gradually if required. Mix to make a soft but not sticky dough. Take care not overwork the dough so you’ll not end up with dense and heavy dumplings.
- Using floured hands, shape the mixture into 8 balls.
- Place the dumplings gently on the hot stew, casserole or soup, spacing them evenly. Cover with and simmer for about 15 minutes. Do not lift the lid during cooking or the dumplings will be heavy.
- Remover the lid and turn the dumplings over so that they can soak up the sauce evenly. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Break one open to check whether it is cooked through. There should not be any uncooked, doughy mixture left in the centre.