Carol's Stew and Dumplings

Stew and Dumplings
Who doesn’t like coming home, cold and wet, and being greeted by the smell of a stew simmering with dumplings? 

Well, I will tell you a story, it is hot and steamy here. When I was at home in the UK and it was hot, bearing in mind I suppose we didn’t get too many of those days.  The shops and supermarkets were stripped of salad goodies. If my hubbie had come home to a stew, well lets just say the air might have been a little blue and my sanity was questioned.
Here in sunny Thailand, maybe the men miss a bit of home cooking but they just love a stew.
So this is for all of you who are experiencing sub-zero temperatures and for those of you who just miss home and a stew.
Let’s Cook!
Now my stews have anything in them, no set amounts or Ingredients.
Meat:
1 kilo of Chicken, Pork or Beef or a nice ham hock.
Carrots 2/3
Onions 1/2 yellow/brown or shallots/baby onions left whole.
Pearl Barley 1/4 a cup or so
Peppers green, red or yellow.
Mushrooms again button or king Oyster.
Lentils if I haven’t got pearl barley.
Leeks if I am using chicken.
Celery chopped.
Swede or turnips which I can’t get here and I miss.  I love a bit of mashed swede – stop drooling Carol.
Potatoes either in it or if doing like Lancashire hot pot sliced and put on top – so good. Now that’s a recipe for another day.
Any other vegetables of your choice I think by now you get my drift.
Gravy I use a good stock by cooking bones, I never use tinned soups and things in my stews but up to you, just me – nope, nada, never.
If It’s red meat some balsamic vinegar.
I use bay leaves, rosemary, thyme any herbs I have, fresh if possible if not dried is OK.
Garlic oh yes.
Salt and Pepper.
Now I know this is vague on amounts but a stew is just that. It is an ideal opportunity to use up what you have and as well as we all have our favorites to put those in and so anything goes.
Cooking times vary depending on your meat and whether it is cooked on the stove top which I normally do, slow and easy and then if I am adding dumplings at the end then I pop it in a hot oven for 15/20 mins until the dumplings are risen and lovely.
Now this is my exception to MY rules, I use a packet mix for dumplings and do not read the list of ingredients BECAUSE I don’t want to know.
Since being here I have tried different flours, suet, fat, soda water keeping it in the fridge and nothing works, we got bullets, hard, greasy bullets nothing resembling the soft, fluffy creations I made when in the Uk.
The packets, ready mixed that my friends bring me over work a treat.
Enjoy your stew!
Prepared, tried and tested by: Carol Taylor
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