Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Suet Dumplings

Happy St Davids Day to all my fellow Welshmen.

To celebrate the day I'm planning a lamb stew with dumplings or cawl as it's known in Wales - I don't fancy the laver bread (that's seaweed for the uninitiated) but I will probably make a batch of welsh cakes sometime today. I'm using Welsh Lamb and adding leeks so I think that's welsh enough - especially if I put some vases of daffodils around the house - what more could anyone want?

So I thought that today I would show you how I make dumplings, the different ways of cooking them and also a few 'extras' to bring more flavour to a stew or casserole.

The basics to a dumpling are much the same. It's a 2:1 ration of flour to suet. It's easier to use self raising flour although you can use plain and add baking powder. The suet can be either types - vegetarian or animal fat and along with a splash of water you have your basic mix. It's then up to you if you want to add anything else, just some simple seasoning of salt and pepper, you can add chopped fresh herbs or a sprinkle of dried, a pinch of chilli flakes, lemon zest works well with thyme leaves and grated cheese mixed with spring onions is a winner. Combinations can be varied and numerous.

My basic recipe is 4oz self raising flour, 2oz shredded suet, a pinch salt, a little black pepper and cold water to mix.

For my lamb casserole tonight I'm making rosemary dumplings so I've added a teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary with loads of cracked black peppercorns - approx 1 teaspoon.

Add the water a few tablespoons at a time to form a firm, but soft dough - ugh that sentence is a bit confusing - what I'm trying to say is you want your dough to hold it's self together but not be too hard or to wet.

Divide the mixture into eight and roll into loose balls. Do not over work as this will make them tough and may stop them rising during cooking.

You then simply drop them into you stew 20 minutes before the end of cooking. To keep them fluffy and light add them to a boiling stew and pop the lid back on until finished cooking.

If you want to make them crispy on top remove the lid about 5 minutes before the end and the tops poking out of the stew will crust over giving a satisfying crunch when eating. I have been known to sprinkle grated cheese over the top at this stage with melts over and forms a very tasty dumpling.

These dumpling were cooked in a simple lamb chop casserole with the gravy spooned over the top.

Have a lovely St Davids Day
and here are of some daffodils, mine are just about to flower in our garden - Perfect timing I think!

Love Lizx