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Beany Vegetable Hotpot with Cider and Parsley Dumplings

ingredients

serves 4
3 tbsp vegetable oil
140 g leeks, thickly sliced on the diagonal, well washed
450 g diced mixed winter vegetables
150 ml medium dry cider
1 x 400 g tin mixed beans / pulses in water / brine, drained
2 fat cloves garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
1 x 400 g tin tomatoes
2 tsp cornflour

for the dumplings

170 g self-raising wholemeal flour
85 g butter or hard vegetarian margarine, at room temperature
6 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper

method

1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4

2. You will need a 1.7 litre capacity casserole dish with lid

3. First, saute the vegetables for the hotpot: Gently heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan. Add the leeks and diced vegetables. Cook gently over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to brown (approximately 20 minutes).

4. Meanwhile, make the dumplings: Sift the flour into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Rub the butter/ margarine into the flour with fingertips, until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the parsley, and just enough cold water to bind the mixture to a soft but not sticky dough (approximately 75ml water). Form into 8 balls.

5. Back to the hotpot: Add to the pan of sauteed vegetables all the remaining hotpot ingredients except cornflour. Bring to the boil. Mix the cornflour with 2 x 15ml spoons cold water and stir into the boiling vegetable mixture. Mix well, season with salt and pepper, and transfer to casserole dish.

6. Arrange the dumplings on top of the hotpot. Cover with the lid, and bake until the dumplings are cooked, and the vegetables are tender (approximately 45 minutes, depending on the temperature of the casserole when it goes into the oven).

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