When I first became vegetarian – twenty years ago – I lived in a bedsit without an oven. All I had was a fridge (with a broken ice compartment) and a Baby Belling two-electric-ring thing. So, without an oven in which to heat things up, most of my meals were dishes that could be made in one or two pots. And most of those things came out of the first vegetarian cookbook I bought: No Meat For Me Please by Jan Arkless.
It’s a great book. All the recipes are for one or two people (brilliant if you live on your own) and Jan simplifies the measurements into centimetres and tablespoons (i.e. 25g of cheese is about 2 square cm; 25g of flour is 1 tablespoon [I’m going by memory, so please don’t shout at me if these measurements are way off]).
One recipe I often used to make from that cookbook was stew. It was so simple – just chop up some veg and boil it with some stock and tomatoes. So when I saw a stew recipe in 200 Veggie Feasts that I picked up recently at the garden centre, it reminded me of cooking stew in my bedsit and so I had to make it again. Especially as a few weeks ago I’d bought a packet of Aunt Bessies Dumplings as I’d seen them in the supermarket and hadn’t had dumplings since living at my parents’ house, over twenty-three years ago.
The Meat Eater had warned me that he only likes crispy dumplings, not soggy ones. But I’d forgotten his warning and don’t know how to make crispy dumplings anyway, but he ate them and gave a rating of ‘yum’.
200 Veggie Feasts calls it ‘goulash with chive dumplings’ but to me, stew will do.
Goulash with chive dumplings (serves 4)
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
4 tablespoons olive oil
8 baby onions, peeled
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 carrot, chopped
1 large celery stick, sliced
500g potatoes, cubed
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
400g can chopped tomatoes
450ml vegetable stock
salt and black pepper
For the chive dumplings (if you’re not like me and buy a packet mix)
75g self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
50g vegetarian suet
1 tablespoon chopped chives
4-5 tablespoons water
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onions, garlic, carrot, celery, potatoes and caraway seeds and cook over a medium heat, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Add the paprika and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
Stir in the tomatoes, stock and salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Make the dumplings. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and stir in the suet, chives and pepper to taste. Working quickly and lightly gradually mix in enough of the measurement water to form a soft dough. Divide into 8 equal pieces and roll into balls.
Carefully arrange the dumplings in the stew, leaving gaps between them, cover and simmer for 15 minutes until doubled in size and light and fluffy.