Wednesday 25 August 2010

MLLA Weekday stew, Weekend feast

My dad came for dinner last week while my mum is away on holiday. It has been a cold wet winter so I decided to make a hearty bean and beer stew with dumplings. It was from my 30 Minutes Vegetarian cookbook and as usual I managed to take longer than 30 minutes to make it but it was worth every minute.

I had thought twice about if I used a tin of baked beans, as I try not to use processed products in my cooking if possible. (You are welcome to spot the double standard since I don’t mind using beer!) But it did appeal to my lack of time these days. The flavour of baked beans and beer worked surprisingly well. I used Murphy’s Irish Stout because it was leftover from bread baking. It was quite strong and I think I might prefer a milder beer next time (and if I was more organised I would look for a vegetarian beer).

I did make some changes. I added some carrot, garlic, dried herbs instead of fresh herbs and added a shake of smoked paprika. I added cheese to the dumplings and reduced the mustard from 2 to 1 tablespoons. We wouldn’t have wanted any more mustard! I had leftovers for lunch the next day and thought the dumplings were even better after sitting in the fridge overnight.

My dad was keen to return the favour. He invited the family for a roast dinner on Sunday. We were all interested to sample my dad’s cooking but unfortunately he was too ill on the day to cook. Lunch was provided by everyone except my dad. It was delicious. We ate at my sister Susie’s place where the kids had a great time playing outside with the basketball hoop.

I took down a nutroast. I was pleased that Sylvia had some of it with some of my sister Susie’s salad, though she was distracted by all the action and much preferred climbing up to stand on the kiddie chairs and arguing with Cooper over the piggy bank. My brother’s new girlfriend Sophie brought along a few delicious dishes – an eggplant tomato bake and a pumpkin and pine nut salad – so there were plenty of veg options. For sweets, we had two apple cakes, thanks to Fran and Sophie, a pav with crumbled violet crumble and fresh watermelon and strawberries.

The pav by my sister in law Erica was especially impressive. My mum often make pavlova with peppermint crisp crumbled on it. Erica did well in choosing my dad’s favourite chocolate bar instead. The shards of chocolate and honeycomb sprinkled on the cream were very pleasing and I suspect it wont be the last time we see that combination.

I am sending this stew to My Legume Love Affair blog event, which celebrates beans and lentils. It is the brainchild of Susan from the Well Seasoned Cook and is hosted by Simone from Bricola this month (#26).

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Smoothie, Housekeeping and a Question
The time three years ago: Soup for the Leguminous Evangelists
This time three years ago: ACMI Café – sweet but no sourdough!

Bean and beer stew with dumplings
adapted from Joanne Farrow’s 30 Minute Vegetarian
serves 4
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup beer (I used Murphy’s Irish stout)
  • 400g tin of baked beans
  • 400g tin of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs (or fresh if you have them)
  • shake of smoked paprika


  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 50g butter
  • 50g vintage cheese, grated (optional)
  • 1 tbsp seeded mustard
  • 8-10 tbsp buttermilk (I used 10)
Heat oil in a stockpot and gently fry onion, parsnip, carrot, celery and garlic for 10-20 minutes (I didn’t time how long it took me but I did it till they softened). Add stock, beer, baked beans, kidney beans, herbs and smoked paprika. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes until slightly thickened.

While stew is cooking, make the dumplings by rubbing butter into flour and cheese, then stirring in the mustard and buttermilk. When stew is cooked, drop 8 dessertspoons of dumpling mixture into the stew. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the dumplings are cooked through. Serve hot.

On the Stereo:
Set List: The Frames


  1. Crunchies and pavolva - why, that looks like the upmarket version of a few of my recent posts! :D I keep seeing dumpling-topped stews on blogs and getting super yearn-y, except then I forget about it come dinner time. MUST remember to try yours - you had me at smoked paprika :)

  2. I love the bean and beer stew - it sounds perfect for our current weather. Erica's pav is superb.

  3. That looks great, I have been on the lookout for recipes of stews with dumplings so I am bookmarking this to try it.

  4. I can never make recipes that claim to take 30 minutes in that time!

  5. Your dish brought back memories of a trip to Ireland, many years ago. There I had a stew where beer was one of the ingredients. I am particularly intrigued by the dumplings: I will add them to my to-try list. Thanks for participating.

  6. thanks Hannah - I am not sure crunchies are likely to feature in my family where violet crumbles rule but would be interested to hear if you try it. As for the smoked paprika in the stew - that is me just throwing it into everything I can - but highly recommend it

    Thanks Cakelaw - it is a stew with dumplings sort of winter, isn't it!

    Thanks Vicki - hope you like this one - I found the dumplings light and fluffy the first night but a bit heavier (in a good way) the second day

    Thanks Jess - I suspect these recipes think you have all the veg chopped before starting - which never happens with me!

    Thanks Simona - I am sure this stew would be quite at home in Ireland

  7. I prefer to cook beans myself too but it's nice to have a couple of cans of beans in the cupboard for last minute meals! As far as I know, beer is usually vegetarian? It's wine that more often isn't. I'm going to have to look at beer labels now. (I work at a wine & beer kit company, which by no means makes me an expert but I know we don't add animal products to our beer because they're not needed.)


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