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[personal profile] mirrorshard
Tasty vegan rocket-fuel autumn food. All the quantities are approximate, because it doesn't matter at all if you don't do it the same way as I do. When I say "250g", I mean "about half a 500g packet, more or less". Serves 6 or so hungry people.

If you're keen on de-veganizing it, add bacon in the first stage.

1. Dice a couple of medium-sized onions, and set them to sautee in sunflower oil (rapeseed oil or vegetable oil also work well - olive is usually too strong) until soft & golden. While they're cooking, chop two or three carrots and toss those in immediately. If you like garlic (and who doesn't?) then throw in half a dozen cloves to sautee too, roughly chopped.

2. When that mixture's done (ie. soft and golden and not dry - keep an eye on it and add more oil if you need to) then pour in two tins of chopped tomatoes. Add a generous helping of Scarborough Fair herbs (about a heaped teaspoon of each), sea salt & black pepper. Don't season it to taste at this stage - make it ridiculously strong and intense. If your taste buds & budget feel like it, then a couple of glassfuls of red wine won't go at all amiss - before you put the tomatoes in, turn up the heat to full, splash the wine in, stir it around, and let it bubble off. (This removes the alcohol, leaving the flavour.)

3. Toss in about 250g of lentilhas verdes (Puy lentils or lentilles vertes - to be carefully distinguished from green lentils), 250g of pearl barley, and two tins of chickpeas, drained & rinsed. You can quite happily substitute other pulses (black beans work very well) for the chickpeas, or green or brown lentils for the lentilhas verdes, or mix & match.

4. Add some vegetables: potato, swede, fennel, and aubergine all work well. You'll want roughly the equivalent of two large vegetables, or the size of four clenched fists.

5. Add a couple of teaspoons of vegan stock powder and top up with water till everything's covered, then another inch or so on top. Bring it to the boil, then leave to simmer for a while - it'll take at least half an hour, but might be more depending on the pulses. If you're using pre-soaked dried beans, boil them for at least ten minutes. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

6. Make the dumplings. The reason this is called One Dumpling Stew is that I always make rather a lot of dumpling mixture, and they join up in the pan. Four tablespoons of flour (wholemeal bread flour works well, especially if it has seeds & grains in), two of vegetable suet, a heaped teaspoon of baking powder. Salt & pepper, and a teaspoon of herbs - I usually use tarragon, but caraway seeds work really well too. Mix them all around, put in about a wine-glass worth of cold water, and mix it all up till there's no loose flour and the mixture can be lifted up in a large wet glob clinging to the spoon. (You might want to put the water in a bit at a time - it's easy to go too far, and adding more flour is boring.) Drop the large wet globs into your simmering pan, one at a time, as far away from each other as possible. When all the mixture is in, stick the lid back on and leave it to cook for five or ten minutes.

Other good things to put in it include leeks, chestnuts, mushrooms, and garden peas.

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