Tomato + harissa stew with dumplings
As the weather gets cold and I start feeling crappy, I crave stodge, as I’m sure we all do. I saw a recipe for a stew on BBC Good Food and thought I’d do my own version of it, which I’m pleased to say turned out really well! I’ve not cooked with harissa before, and the smells of chilli, star anise and spices were so delicious. A low-effort Moroccan-style feast!
Oil for frying (coconut or sunflower best)
2 white onions
2 sticks celery
1 tin tomatoes
1 tin chick peas
3 or 4 big runner beans
2 teaspoons cornflour (optional)
2 teaspoons Harissa
3 small/medium courgettes
Big squirt tomato paste
Veggie stock pot or stock cube
Black pepper to season
100g veggie suet
200g plain flour
100g grated cheese, the stronger the better
You’ll need a big pan too cook everything up on the hob, as well as one you can put a lid on and put in the oven (you may have a magical pan that does both, but I don’t). Start by chopping your onions and celery sticks pretty roughly (chunks are nice), and add to a hot pan with your oil. Fry gently for 5 mins, meanwhile, chop up your courgettes (again, not too small pieces), then add them in.
Keep stirring everything to make sure it doesn’t stick, and add your tin of tomatoes, as well as a tin of cold water (use the tomato tin, it also helps get the last bits out!). Drain and add your chickpeas, then your harissa and the stock pot. Last of all, add your tomato paste, chop up your runner beans and add them in too. You can optionally add some cornflour to thicken the stew, but you don’t have to – take a bit of the sauce out using a mug, add your cornflour to it, mix until dissolved, then add back in – this avoids lumps. Turn your oven on to 200 degrees now.
The whole thing can simmer for 20 mins while you make up your dumplings. I do this by eye, most of the time – you need twice as much flour as you have suet, then add cheese. Lastly, add a bit of cold water (only a small amount!) and mix with your hands until it forms a dough. It’s easy to add too much water and end up with sludge – if this happens, dry it out with a bit more flour, until it’s the right consistency.
When the 20 mins is up, transfer your stew to your oven-proof casserole pot. Flour your hands a little and roll out as many dumplings as you can (no smaller than a ping-pong ball), and place them on top of the stew. Cover with the lid, and cook in the centre of your oven for 15-20 minutes. If you like, remove the lid for the last 5 minutes to get some colour on the dumplings (I forgot to do this, so mine were a bit pale, but still tasted great!).
Serve with crusty bread if you like, or just have it on its own. That way, you can justify eating more dumplings.