This is a big, thick, rich stew with cheesy herby dumplings, perfect for the colder evenings that’s really easy to make.
For the dumplings:
50g butter, softened
125g self raising flour
40g cheddar cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp thyme leaves
For the stew:
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, roughly diced
2 celery sticks, roughly diced
3 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp Marmite
1/2 tbsp tomato puree
2L hot vegetable stock
3 carrots, peeled and chopped into chunky pieces
4 parsnips, peeled and chopped into chunky pieces
450g swede, peeled and chopped into chunky pieces
3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunky pieces
2-3 rosemary sprigs, plus extra, chopped, to sprinkle
1 bouquet garni
150g orzo pasta
80g pack of cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
Start by making the dumplings. Rub the butter into the flour and mix with the cheddar and thyme. Add just enough cold water to bring the mixture together to a soft dough and divide into 6 small dumplings.
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees fan / Gas mark 5. Heat the oil in a large casserole dish and fry the onion and celery over a low heat for 10 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the flour into the pan, whisking constantly to make a roux. Add in the Marmite and tomato puree followed by the stock a glug at a time, whisking all the while to make a smooth base to the stew.
Throw the carrots, parsnips, swede, sweet potatoes, rosemary and bouquet garni into the dish and bring to the boil. Cook the stew with the lid off for 5-7 minutes. The vegetables should be cooking nicely but still have a bite to them.
Rinse the orzo pasta well in a sieve and pour into the casserole along with the chestnuts. Season well and place the dumplings on top of the casserole. Sprinkle over a little chopped rosemary and bake in the oven, lid off, for 20-30 minutes until the dumplings are puffed up and nicely cooked and the vegetables are tender.
Service with crusty bread (preferably hot!)