I’m sorry, this isn’t a pretty dish. But I won’t apologise too much as the flavour more than rectifies that. And as far as I’m concerned, any dish that manages to incorporate scone like substances into it is doing well. Casseroles with dumplings really are a brilliant invention, allowing you to turn a few basic ingredients into a substantial meal. Definitely something to keep in mind if you are on a budget. These dumplings burst with flavour due to Parmesan, wholemeal flour and oodles of herbs and gratifyingly soak up the paprika spiced juices. The rest of the dish is so healthy that it’s impossible to feel guilty eating ‘scones’ for dinner. Each time I make this casserole I wistfully stare at my bowl, hoping that a few more dumplings will suddenly materialise. I then swear that I will double the dumpling mix next time. And promptly forget to when the time rolls around. I haven’t doubled the mix in the recipe below (at the moment it makes one medium sized dumpling per person) but if you are anything like me and have a penchant for scones I would advise doing so!
As long as you follow the basic guidelines regarding spices/stock/tomatoes etc. you can interchange the vegetables with whatever you have at hand. It’s a brilliant way to utilise those forgotten bits of veg that are hiding in the depths of your fridge. The same goes for the beans – if you don’t have cannellini then try butter beans, chickpeas or even and handful or two of red lentils. At the end of the day it is simply a vessel for the dumplings – they are the star of the dish!
Vegetable Casserole with Cheesy Herb Dumplings
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp sweet paprika
½ tsp ground coriander
1 large waxy potato, cut into 2cm dice
1 large carrot, sliced (0.5mm thick)
400g tin chopped tomatoes
400ml vegetable stock
400g sweet potato, cut into 1cm dice
100g broccoli florets
2 zucchini, thickly sliced (1cm thick)
400g can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp sour cream
Salt and pepper to season
½ cup self raising flour
½ cup wholemeal self raising flour
20g cold butter, chopped into small cubes
2 tsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
20g finely grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 200C. Heat sunflower oil in a large saucepan. Sauté onion over medium heat for three minutes or until softened. Add the garlic, paprika and coriander and cook, stirring, for one minute.
Add the potato, carrot, tinned tomatoes and stock. Stir well, bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the remaining vegetables and simmer for another 10 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile make the dumplings. Sift flours and salt into a large bowl and lightly rub in butter with fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the herbs and cheese. Make a well in the centre and gradually pour in the milk, using a cutting action with a flat bladed knife to incorporate it into the flour. Keep on ‘cutting’ until the mixture comes together in big blobs. Turn out onto a board and bring together lightly with your hands. Divide into six portions and roll each gently into a rough ball shape. Set aside.
Stir the cannellini beans and sour cream into the casserole. Season well with salt and pepper.
Transfer to a 2 litre oven proof dish and place the dumplings on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the dumplings turn light brown and are cooked through when tested with a skewer.
Spoon into bowls and serve with extra crusty bread or mashed potato to soak up the juices, if you wish.
Source: Inspired by recipe from Vegetarian Cooking: A Common Sense Guide