A hearty Winter Vegetable Stew with Cheesy dumplings is a great one pot dish and perfect comfort food for colder days. Seasonal vegetables cooked in a delicious tomato sauce and topped off with cheese flavoured dumplings is just what you need.
Root vegetables which are in season in autumn and winter, go really well in a stew as they benefit from slightly longer cooking and don't go all mushy. There are no hard and fast rules about which winter vegetables you can include in a stew and I would always encourage people to take the opportunity to use up any leftover bits. Mushrooms for example go well. Some root vegetables such as butternut squash and swede will need slighter longer cooking as they are a bit denser. They are still great to use if you have some lying around but you may need to let it 'stew' for longer in the oven.
I've used a tomato sauce as the base for this vegetable stew as it brings alot of flavour and is nice and thick. The tomato flavour goes very well with the sweetness of the root vegetables and of course is one more vegetable, making this a great nutritional dish. I also use sweet potatoes in this recipe. Sweet potatoes go very well in a stew and you don't need to cook them beforehand.
Cheesy dumplings are worth a special mention as they taste amazing and really make this dish. If you want to keep the dish vegan, then you can use vegan suet which is made from vegetable oil and vegan cheddar cheese.
What to serve with stew?
A stew is a great one pot dish, especially if you add dumplings so from a 'will it fill me up' point of view, you don't need to serve anything extra. Sometimes, people like to add something green on the side, just to brighten up the plate. I would recommend peas but anything green such as cabbage or broccoli will do. This winter vegetable stew already contains potato. If your stew doesn't have potato in it, you might like to serve some mash on the side. Mash is also great for mopping up the gravy or sauce.
A winter vegetable stew is great for using vegetables in season. Try to buy your vegetables loose and free from plastic packaging. This also means you can buy exactly what you need which will help minimise your food waste. All of the vegetables are grown in the UK so try to buy them from local sources if possible in order to minimise the carbon footprint and support your local economy. As with many things now, they are of course all available as organic. Organic produce has a much lower environmental impact. For more information, check out my Eating Sustainably page.
Storing Vegetable Stew
You can keep this vegetable stew in the fridge for 3 - 4 days. You can also freeze this stew, although root vegetables do tend to go a bit mushy when they've been frozen.
What to do with leftover stew
As an alternative to freezing any leftover stew, I think a much better idea is to turn it into a soup. Just add some vegetable stock and blitz the vegetables and you will have a lovely thick vegetable soup. Adding milk will make it a little creamier. If you've got any other vegetables leftover, this is a great opportunity to use them up. Chop them into small pieces and add in. Once they are soft enough, you can mash them up or put the soup through a food processor.
Winter Vegetable Stew with Cheesy Dumplings
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion organic, diced
- 1 leek organic, diced about 500g
- 1 carrot organic, diced about 2cm cubes
- 1 parsnip organic, diced about 2cm cubes
- 500 g sweet potato organic, diced about 2cm cubes
- 400 g chopped tomatoes organic, tinned
- 500 g passata organic
- 300 ml vegetable stock organic
- 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce organic
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme organic, leaves only
- 1 dash salt
- 1 dash black pepper organic, fairtrade
- 125 g self raising flour organic
- 60 g suet
- 100 g cheddar cheese organic, grated
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Heat the oil in a large casserole pan and fry the onion and leek for around 5 minutes until soft
- Add the carrots, parsnips and sweet potato and cook for 5 minutes until soft
- Add the tinned tomatoes, passata, vegetable stock worcestshire sauce, thyme and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Make sure the liquid covers the vegetables. Bring to a boil then place in the oven for 30 minutes
- Mix the dumpling ingredients together with a little cold water until you can mould the mixture into small balls about the size of ping pong balls.
- Carefully place on top of the stew for the last 20 minutes of cooking and leave the stew uncovered.
- When the dumpling are cooked and slightly browned, serve everything together