As many of you probabily already know my husband is English and (even if he won’t admit it) he absolutely adores some good British comfort food.
A few weeks back he mentioned he tried to make dumplings once but unfortunately the outcame wasn’t that great.
Challenge accepted! – I thought, as I’ve never made and (to be completely honest with you) had British dumplings before.
How is that? The answer is pretty simple: they’re not vegan. As a matter of fact they’re not even vegetarian.
These fluffy pillows of dough are, in fact, made from 3 main ingredients: flour, suet and water.
For those who don’t know what suet is, it is basically the raw, hard fat of beef or mutton found around the loins and kidneys, and it is an ingredient (unfortunately) highly used in British cuisine, especially in pastries.
The other day, as we were shopping at Tesco, we noticed to our surprise that they do a vegetable suet alternative. That was our call to dumplings!
Just a word of warning: these vegetable alternatives tend to use palm oil as the replacement for the animal fat, so if you were to make your own I would recommend using margarine or a sustainably sourced palm oil such as this vegetable suet.
How to make vegan suet at home
To make vegan suet at home you will only need 2 ingredients:
- rice flour
1. Freeze the margarine block overnight (this will make it easier to be grated).
2. Grate the margarine with on the larger holes and toss it quickly into rice flour.
3. Keep the vegan suet into the freezer until use.
For this recipe I’ve picked a really cosy and rich soup, starring butternut squash, broccoli and cannellini beans.
These three ingredients combined together help us absorb 50% more of the iron contained in the beans as both butternut squash and broccoli are rich on vitamin C.
I talked about this topic in the Savoy Cabbage Rolls post; if you want to learn more about it, feel free to visit the post here.
To enrich this stew with even more nutrients as B12, B6 and proteins, sprinkle 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast on each serving bowl.
In fact, as little as 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast will boost your vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 intake by over 70% of our daily need, as well as it will provide a few extra grams of proteins, little iron and fiber.
I always try to include at least one tablespoon of nutritional yeast a day on in meals instead of taking vitamin B12 supplements, otherwise I would simply have my B12 tablet.
To make the stew we need to chop the veggies to the size that we like and add them to a pan with, salt, pepper, sage, bay leaves and a touch of olive oil.
We cook the vegetables on medium-high heat until they start to brown, then we add the red wine for an hearty and cosy flavour.
After the alcohol has evaporated (allow 2-3 minutes), we add the vegetable broth and the tomato puré, and we simmer the stew for 20 minutes.
Now that the stew is roughly half way cooked we can add the beans (with their juice) and we move onto making the dumplings.
The dumplings are added to the stew 20-30 minutes before it’s cooked thoroughly. The steam of the stew will cook the dumplings, allow them to puff up.
To make the dumpling dough from scratch we will only need 5 ingredients: flour, vegetable suet, baking powder, spices and water.
First we combine the dry ingredients with the vegetable suet until they resemble a crumble.
Then cold water goes in, a bit at a time, just enough to make the dough come together.
As you can see, small chuncks of suet are still visible, that’s exactly how your dough shoul look like.
If your dough seems too wet, do not panic, just add a bit of flour to it.
Overall you only want to make sure not to overwork the dough too much.
If you’d like you can use self raising flour and omit the baking powder.
With this amount of ingredients you should be able to form 12 dumplings of a size of a ping pong ball (they will puff up to a golf size ball).
That means 3 dumplings per portion.
Enjoy this vegetable stew and the dumplings warm, with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast on top and a glass of a good red wine.
Are you a fan of British cuisine? Check this Vegan Cheese, Leek and Spinach pie!
Vegan British Dumpling Stew Recipe
…for the stew…
2 cups Potatoes (450 grams)
2 cups Butternut Squash (400 grams)
1 Broccoli Head
1 can Cannellini Beans (250 grams)
1/3 cup Red Wine
2 Garlic Cloves
2 Bay Leaves
2 tbsp Tomato Puré
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Vegetable Broth (around 1 liter)
…for the dumplings…
150 gr Plain Flour
75 gr Vegetable Suet
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Sage
1 tsp Smoked Paprika (optional)
1. Prepare the vegetables for the stew: cut the broccoli florets rounghly to the same size, finely chop the garlic cloves and cube the potatoes, the onion and the butternut squash.
2. Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the chopped vegetables, the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. Sauté on medium-high heat until the vegetables start to caramelize, then add the red wine.
3. Allow the wine to evaporate (2-3 minutes), then add the tomato puré and the vegetable broth, and simmer the soup for around 20 minutes.
4. Prepare the dumplings. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, baking powder, salt, sage and smoked paprika) with the vegetable suet until they turn into a crumbly texture. Add cold water a bit at the time until the dough comes together in a ball. Form 12 dumplings the size of a ping pong ball.
5. Stir the cannellini beans with their juice into the stew. Bring it to a boil then arrange the dumplings on top of the veggies (add more vegetable stock if too dry).
6. Simmer for another 20 minutes (or more, if the vegetables are still hard) until the dumplings puff up.