With two vegan cookbooks now under her belt, Lucy Watson admits the way she approaches food has changed – and she’s happy to take longer over things now.
"Patience gives you results that make it all worth it," she says – and her white bean stew with dumplings is a good example. "It takes a long time to make, but it’s so worth it."
This is the kind of meal Watson will make when she’s throwing a dinner party or having lots of friends over, and is the perfect warming dish for cooler weather.
For the stew:
- 200g dried white beans
- 1tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 130g vegan chorizo sausages, cut into thick slices
- 2 tbsp sundried tomato paste
- 230ml vegan red wine
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 3 large carrots, cut into thick slices
- 2 celery sticks, cut into2cm lengths
- 2tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 400g tin tomatoes
- 2tbsp tomato purée
- 750ml vegetable stock
For the dumplings:
- 130g plain flour
- Zest of 1 lemon
- A small bunch of dill, fronds roughly chopped
- 75g vegetable suet
- 2tbsp Dijon mustard
- Put the white beans in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Boil the beans for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave to soak for three hours. Drain the beans after they have soaked. Leave to one side.
- Preheat the oven to 150°C (130°C fan, gas 2). Put the oil in a flameproof casserole and cook the onions over a medium heat until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and chorizo, and cook for two minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for one minute.
- Add the wine, bay leaves and thyme, and allow to bubble away for four–five minutes until reduced. Add the remaining ingredients, including the soaked beans. Bring everything to the boil, cover and transfer the casserole to the oven and cook for two-and-a-half hours.
- Meanwhile, to make the dumplings, sift the flour into a mixing bowl and stir in the lemon zest and chopped dill. Add the suet and rub into the flour with your fingertips. Add the mustard and enough cold water to bring the dough together. Roll into walnut-sized balls.
- Add a splash of water to the stew if it’s looking a little dry. Put the dumplings on top of the stew, increase the oven temperature to 190°C (170°C fan, gas 5), put the lid back on and cook for a further 30 minutes until the dumplings are fluffy and firm, then serve.
Feed Me Vegan: For All Occasions by Lucy Watson is published by Sphere.