- Be sure to use a large-base casserole dish that can go from the stove top to the oven.
- Using medium heat on the stove top burner, pre-heat the casserole dish and then add enough oil to cover the base in a thin layer (around 1/3 cup)
- When the oil is hot, add the onions and sauté while preparing the root vegetables. You can turn the heat down to low-medium after the first few minutes – I like to fry the onions over a medium heat for a longer period of time rather than using a higher heat for just a few minutes. This way the onions begin to caramelise nicely without the risk of blackening. Also you have the time available while chopping all the root vegetables. Just be sure to keep stirring the onions regularly.
- Once the onions are almost ready, add the crushed garlic and stir again.
- A few minutes later add the root vegetable pieces, stir, and sauté for another few minutes.
- Add the beans, corn, peas, and chickpeas.
- In a jug, whisk together the sage, white wine, stock, tomato paste and 1 tablespoon of the flour, then add to the mix and stir through.
After step 7
- Cover (if possible, use a lid that allows just a little steam to escape), reduce heat to low, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. At this halfway point, also turn the oven on so it pre-heats for the next stage of cooking.
- Start to make the dumplings. ‘Cut’ the margarine through the 300g of flour before stirring through the herbs, then adding sufficient water to form a soft dough. This quantity should then give 10-12 dumplings. Leave them to sit while the stove-top cooking finishes. (This gives better results than forming the dumplings at the last second.)
- After the 30 minutes is through, take the lid off (watch for condensation running off the lid!) and stir the mix again. Place the dumplings on top and then put the dish in the pre-heated oven.
Before going into the oven
- Cook uncovered for 20 minutes, then check to see how the dumplings are doing. If they are cooking unevenly turn the dish 180 degrees and cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the dumplings are slightly golden.
Vegetable casserole with herbed dumplings by Elizabeth Usher. The cooked dish This is adapted from the “pumpkin casserole with herbed dumplings” on page 108 of the fantastic Bed & Broccoli cookbook by Nikki Medwell. Using frozen beans makes it a little bit quicker to prepare, although there is still a fair amount of chopping required for the root vegetables.