Tuesday, 19 January 2016
We are definitely having winter weather now. It's been positively frigid and today is no different. It's definitely the type of day you want to spend indoors next to the fire!
I know all you North Americans think we Brits are cold weather wimps . . . and maybe we are. But in all fairness . . . we just don't have the insulation and heating systems that y'all are used to in North America, and it is a lot damper here!
I took a gathering from the leftovers on my Vegetable Bin today and created a lovely soup from them. Rib sticking and heart warming . . . with lovely carrots, parsnips and swede (rutabaga) . . . fantastic root vegetables that have beautiful sweet properties, especially when you sweat them down with butter.
Added to the mix are wonderful aromatics . . . onions, leeks . . . celery, with a touch of fresh sage leaves. It's sounding pretty good so far isn't it? But just wait . . . it gets even better . . .
I've added the luxury of stodgy bacon, sage and suet dumplings . . . oh so wonderfully filling and fabulously delish. Seriously. The soup on it's own is rich and brothy . . . filled with lots of cubed vegetables . . . and these spectacularly scrummy dumplings. Oh my . . . it goes down a real treat.
Soup. Vegetables. Dumplings . . . BACON dumplings no less. What more could a body want on a cold winter's day? Not much . . . not much . . . so, what are you waiting for??? Get cooking!
*Vegetable Soup with Bacon Dumplings*
A delicious filling soup. Perfect for a cold winter's day.
2 TBS butter
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 leek, diced, white and green parts kept separately
3/4 pound of swede, peeled and diced
3/4 pound of parsnips, peeled and diced
3/4 pound of carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery sticks, diced
3 to 4 sage stems
2 1/2 litres of chicken stock (10 1/2 cups)
salt and black pepper
100g of self raising flour (1 cup)
1/2 tsp English mustard powder
2 tsp finely chopped sage
50g of vegetable suet (1/4 cup)
2 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
4 TBS cold water
Melt the butter over medium low heat in a large saucepan. Add the onion and white part of the diced leeks. Saute about 5 minutes, until beginning to soften, without colouring. Add the remainder of the vegetables and sage. Toss in the butter, then cover and sweat for about 10 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally. Pour on the stock, season to taste with salt and black pepper and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Adjust seasoning as needed.
To make the dumplings whisk together the flour and mustard powder. Stir in the sage, suet and bacon with a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Gradually stir in the water with a spoon, then using your hands to squeeze it together to make a smooth dough. Using your hands shape into 18 balls by gently rolling between your hands.
Stir in the remaining green diced leeks. Add the dumplings. Recover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes until the dumplings are light and fluffy. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately.
Note: If you wanted to make this vegetarian, you could use vegetable stock and add gnocchi dumplings instead of the bacon suet ones. Or you could leave the bacon out of the dumplings and replace it with something nutty like chopped walnuts, and a bit of crumbled cheese, such as a creamy Stilton. Sounds gorgeous already!