(Get to the) Root (of all your worries) Vegetable Casserole with (or without) Herb Dumplings: a seasonal remedy to seasonal misery

Casserole:

  • 2 leeks, about half an average wrist in circumference, thinly sliced
  • A generous dollop of butter/similar
  • 2 meagre carrots, peeled and chopped into half moons (for further instruction watch the ‘Jaffa Cake’ lady)
  • 2 potatoes, a little larger than fists, peeled and chopped
  • 1 butternut squash not much larger than a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale, peeled, deseeded, and chopped
  • An ample squirt of tomato puree
  • Enough vegetable stock to cover without drowning
  • 1 can of butterbeans, drained and the liquor reserved for later
  • 1 bay leaf, a residual fragment simply will not suffice
  • A smattering of ground ginger
  • An indeterminate amount of paprika
  • 1 cinnamon stick, beware of the potent cinnamon logs sold in cultured branches of Tesco (they do exist)
  • Seasoning to suit

Dumplings:

  • Vegetable suet (e.g. Atora)
  • Self-raising flour
  • Dried ‘mixed herbs’
  • Milk/equivalent

Procedure (N.B. Look out for the meanwhiles)

  1. Melt the butter over a medium heat, and add the leeks. Sautee until softened but not browned.
  2. Add anything which one considers to qualify as a vegetable and stir occasionally for the duration of Joanna Newsom’s ‘Cosmia’; the result should be a fuzziness around the edges and an almost impenetrable core. Meanwhile boil the kettle/take care of any other necessary steps to ensure the safe transmission of the stock to the pan.
  3. Make the stock if needed and add, maintaining the heat. You should have prepared the butterbeans, but if you haven’t, do it now. Squirt in sufficient tomato puree to create terracotta tones. Toss in spices, sticks and related leaves until it smells sumptuous, or employ somebody with a developed pallette to do so if incapable.
  4. Simmer covered during ‘Only Skin’. Meanwhile make the dumplings, making an effort to adhere to the guidelines of the packet but do make the whole box not just the minimum requirements. Add the herbs. Shape into balls (for comparison, see golf). Flour the outsides of them with a little plain flour.  Add the butterbeans and liquor (only the stuff that came with the beans).
  5. Drop the balls into the simmering stew. Cover and cook until the end of  ‘Monkey and Bear’.
  6. Season to taste (bring back the employee if necessary) and serve without slopping it around the edges of the bowls.
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