One thing with the ‘warming stew / casserole’ recipe and back chat was I didn’t make it clear that you don’t need a slow cooker to achieve great casseroles. If you have one – they are great fun for this sort of thing, and use tiny amounts of electricity.You can just as easily do this in a casserole pot either on the hob or in the oven, of course. I know you have worked this out already, but just in case…
One thing is true though, Suet dumplings really do add a dash of complete cuddly comfort to a fine and tasty stew. The Atora Suet packet is nicely old-fashioned itself, so makes you feel a bit ‘motherhood and apple pie’ just opening it! The recipe for the dough is twice the weight of self-raising flour to suet. As I was only making enough for 4 small dumplings, I used 1 ounce of suet and 2 ounces of self-raising flour.
All you do is mix the two ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. I also add a good slug of dried mixed herbs. It may feel like a lot – but a whole dessertspoonful disappears quite quickly into the mixture. Add a little (two or three dessert spoons to start) and mix this into the flour and suet (and seasonings). You can mix it in with a knife. Keep stirring it around adding little bits of water until it balls up and sticks together. I think this is what pastry chefs mean when they say “the dough needs to come away clean”. If this is the case – then the bowl has almost none of the mixture sticking on it, and the dough is about tennis ball sized. Put a spoonful of flour onto your hands (or some from a flour dredger if you have one) (nice things – worth having). Then pick up your ball of dough, with the flour stopping too much of it sticking to you, and rip it into 4 pieces. Roll them into balls between your palms. Lift the lid on the casserole pot or slow cooker, and place them on top of the bubbling liquid. get that lid back on quickly! The dumplings cook in th steam above the stew. This is why you shouldn’t lift the lid until they are cooked. If you keep peeping, they will not cook, and will probably end up like bullets. You have been warned!
The recipes for dumplings always say 30 minutes. My experience says they need longer – at least 45 minutes, or even an hour. And this is one thing that works better in a casserole dish in the oven or on the hob – because the temperature is just a bit higher, so you seem to get fluffier dumplings.
You Tube video of making the dumplings: