This week dear reader, I am pleased to reintroduce to you the talented Eleanor Büsing of Kitchenist. Ele shared her recipe for slow-baked beans with maple syrup back in early November and it was a huge hit, so I am thrilled she is returning with another recipe. So I’ll hand you over to Ele and her seasonally perfect recipe for Vegetable Pot Pie with Dumplings.
Ele’s Vegetable Pot Pie with Dumplings
Well, we’re almost reached the end of January- are you sick of salads yet? After the excesses of December, many of us resolve to be a bit kinder to our bodies in the new year. But go to your window. Have a look outside. If you’re in the Northern hemisphere, I’m willing to bet that it’s still a little snowy, rainy, slushy, freezing and/or miserable out there. Unfortunately, Spring isn’t with us just yet.
What we need these days are healthy but hearty foods- veg-packed, full of vitamins and none too fattening- but still gut-warming and soul-soothing. I’m eating a lot of spicy curries, robust soups and roast vegetables these days, but my ultimate cold weather meal is this Vegetable Pot Pie with Dumplings.
The recipe is based on my Mum’s traditional Chicken Pot Pie, a dish that I was loathe to give up when I went vegetarian two years ago. Luckily, I didn’t need to; upping the veg content and throwing in some chickpeas for protein and texture did wonders for this favourite dish. If you’re omnivorous, of course you can always make this the old fashioned way. Simply replace the chickpeas with some leftover roast chicken and use chicken stock instead of vegetable.
I admit, the cheesy herb dumplings aren’t the healthiest topping for this. My Mum’s austere, cheese-less version would have been more suited to the cause, but I just can’t help gilding the lily at times. After all, something has to keep us going during these deep, dark days of winter.
For the stew:
2 Tbs. butter
1 onion, chopped
1 leek, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. thyme leaves
2 Tbs. flour
480ml vegetable stock
760g root vegetables, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks [I used 1 potato, 1/2 a swede, 2 carrots and 2 parsnips]
175g cooked chickpeas
salt and pepper
8 brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 a red pepper, chopped
chopped parsley, to serve
For the dumplings:
200g self-raising flour
50g unsalted butter, cut into 1cm cubes
1 tsp. thyme leaves
20g finely grated cheese [strong cheddar, parmesan, or a mixture]
Serves 4-6, depending on how hungry they are!
1. Heat the butter in a very large, heavy-bottomed saucepan with a lid. Add the onion and leek, cover and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes or so, until very soft but not brown. Turn up the heat slightly, add the garlic and thyme and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
2. Add the flour and cook for another minute, stirring to make a paste. Pour in the milk and vegetable stock and whisk until you have a smooth, thick sauce. To this, add the root veg and the cooked chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the veg are beginning to become tender.
3. Meanwhile, make the dumplings. Put the flour into a large bowl and work in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal; you can use a pastry cutter or your fingers. Stir in the thyme leaves and cheese and make a well in the middle of the bowl. Into this, pour the milk and stir everything until just combined. You should have a very sticky dough which is neither too thin nor too dry.
4. When the root vegetables are tender, add the spouts, peas and red pepper and push everything under the surface of the broth. Using a soup spoon, drop golf ball-sized pieces of dumpling dough over the surface of the stew, leaving about 1/2″ between them. Cover and simmer for 15-18 minutes until dumplings have doubled in size and are dry and shiny on top. Serve pot pie in bowls with the parsley scattered on top.