A vegetarian supper full of fresh flavours, perfect for sharing with friends
- 200.0g baby carrots , scraped but left whole
- 250.0g chestnut mushrooms , halved if large
- 600.0ml boiling vegetable stock (marigold swiss bouillion is good)
- 8 shallots , peeled and cut in half lengthways
- 100.0g self-raising flour
- ½ tsp light soy sauce
- 200.0g green beans , trimmed and cut in half
- 50.0g mature cheddar , finely grated
- 2.0 tsp cornflour
- 300.0g fruity white wine , such as sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio
- 200.0g baby courgettes , each cut into 4 chunks, or 2 courgettes cut in sticks
- 50.0g butter at room temperature, cut in pieces
- Ingredients for the dumplings
- 3.0 tbsp light olive oil
- 250.0g small new potatoes , cut int half
- 3.0 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- 2-3 fennel bulbs (about 500g total weight), each cut into 8 wedges
- For the casserole
- ½ fresh red chilli , seeded and finely chopped
- Pinch of muscovado sugar , light or dark
- 3 peeled garlic cloves , cut in half lengthways
- 1.0 tbsp each snipped chives and chopped parsley
- To make the dumplings, rub the flour and butter together so it looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the cheese, parsley and salt and pepper to season and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large pan or flameproof casserole (about 3.5 litres) over a high-ish heat, then throw in the halved shallots. Fry for 2-3 minutes till beginning to soften and turn brown and gold in places. Now still working on quite a high heat, add the potatoes and watch for the same effect, about 5-7 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon and generally moving the pan about a bit. Add the garlic, carrots and fennel, allowing a couple of minutes between each so they get a chance to release their flavours. Pour in the stock along with most of the wine, then stir in the sugar and soy sauce and return to the boil. Simmer covered for 10 minutes. If preparing ahead make up to the end of step 2, cool and chill for up to five hours. About 20 minutes before you are ready to serve, bring back to the boil, and continue with step 3.
- Stir about 2 tbsp of water into the dumpling mixture to form a soft dough. Break off small pieces to make 20-25 dumplings, then shape into rounds about the size of a cherry tomato. Add the green beans and simmer for 5 minutes, then add the mushrooms and courgettes. Stir the cornflour into the remaining wine until it has dissolved, then stir into the casserole until it thickens. Bring to the boil, stir well then gently place the dumplings on top. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer gently for about 15 minutes till the dumplings have risen, and the stew is rich and thick and the vegetables deliciously tender. Check the seasoning.
- Mix the chilli and herbs together in a small bowl and scatter on top of the casserole.