Slow cooker vegetable stew with cheddar dumplings
Give classic stew a veggie twist with creamy sauce and cheesy dumplings. Make it in the slow cooker and be rewarded with a hearty meal at the end of the day
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 200g baby carrots, scrubbed, trimmed and halved if large
- 3 leeks, cut into thick slices
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- 400ml vegetable stock
- 2 courgettes, cut into large chunks
- 2 x 400g cans butter or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 thyme, rosemary or tarragon sprigs
- 200ml crème fraîche
- 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 200g broad beans or peas
- 200g spinach
- ½ small bunch of parsley, finely chopped, plus extra to serve
For the dumplings
- 100g self-raising flour
- 50g vegetarian suet or cold butter, grated
- 100g mature cheddar
- ½ small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
- Set the slow cooker to low. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a frying pan and fry the carrots for 5 mins until just golden, then tip into the slow cooker.
- Heat the remaining oil in the pan and fry the leeks with a pinch of salt for 5 mins until soft. Add the garlic and stir in the flour.
- Gradually add the stock, stirring, until the flour has dissolved and there are no lumps. Bring to the boil, then tip into the slow cooker.
- Add the courgettes, beans and herbs, topping up with water to cover the veg, if needed. Cover and cook for 4 hrs.
- To make the dumplings, tip the flour into a bowl and stir in the suet or butter until evenly distributed. Add the cheese, parsley, ½ tsp cracked black pepper and a pinch of salt.
- Mix in 3-4 tbsp cold water with your hands to make a soft, slightly sticky dough (add a little more water if needed). Divide into six and roll into balls.
- Add the crème fraîche, mustard, broad beans or peas and spinach to the slow cooker and turn it to high.
- Arrange the dumplings over the stew, cover and cook for 1-2 hrs more until firm and doubled in size. Scatter with parsley and serve. Will keep for up to three days in the fridge or in the freezer for up to three months.