From The Slow Cook Book, Heather Whinney, Dorling Kindersley, 2011.
This was supposed to be made in the slow cooker but after looking at the instructions wherein most of the initial stages were to be done before the ingredients went into the cooker, I decided to cook it in a casserole in the oven. The cookery book is very generous in that it presents the recipes in two forms: slow cooker or traditional.
I turned on the oven to preheat to 160ºC and then commenced preparing the casserole. I chopped an onion and added it to the casserole with a little oil to sautee for a few minutes while the other vegetables were prepared. A leek, a carrot and a stick of celery were cut into suitable-sized pieces. A garlic clove was chopped and added to the onions with a pinch of chilli flakes and salt and pepper. After a quick stir the vegetables were added, stirred in and let cook for about 10 more minutes. I now added a zucchini cut into pieces though this was not in the recipe but I had one to spare.
Into the casserole now went a dessertspoon plain flour. This was stirred in, then 450ml stock was added. A can of cannelloni beans was drained and added with a small piece of fresh rosemary. The casserole was now brought to the boil, the lid was placed on top and it went into the oven for an hour.
After about 45 minutes I added the dumplings. They were made by mixing together 100g self-raising flour, 50g Copha (a vegetable lard) and 2 tablespoons chopped parsley with plenty of salt and pepper. Water was added until a soft dough was formed. This was rolled into 6 balls and added to the casserole. It was cooked for about 20 minutes and the lid was removed for another 10 minutes to let the dumplings brown a little. All in all the casserole had cooked for a total of 1¼ hours.
This was a comforting pleasing casserole for a cold night. It was juicy with a strongly savoury flavour from the leek and onion while the dumplings satisfactorily soaked up the liquid. The dumplings lacked a little flavour which I think was due to using Copha which is tasteless. I think in future I would use something like margarine.
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔