A rich, comforting lentil stew with red wine, porcini mushrooms, and vegan crunchy dumplings.
We have a new winter-warming favourite in our household when it’s cold: this lentil stew recipe. January can be a cold, dreary month and as I’m writing up this recipe, dear reader, I’m watching some ominous blue-grey clouds outside threatening to snow. This recipe came about because we’re trying to eat much less meat this year. But giving up meat during January doesn’t need to mean giving up hearty stews and casseroles.
In a bid to help convert the meat-lovers in my family (and perhaps indeed yours?) to this rich, unctuous lentil stew, I have recruited the assistance of the following ingredients: peppery puy or green speckled lentils, earthy dried porcini mushrooms and crunchy dumplings using vegetable suet. Red wine, mushroom stock, tomato pureé and marmite (do bear with me, meat-fans) brings richness and flavour in bounds.
Puy lentils are my favourite lentil. They’re peppery and rich-tasting making them perfect for all kinds of winter dishes. Cooked, they turn a deep green colour and hold their little button shapes. They’re wonderful on their own or in vegetarian shepherd’s pie, ragù sauces, and stews. Puy lentils, or “lentilles du Puy”, are grown in Le Puy-en-Velay in France – they have geographic protection. A little bit like champagne and parmesan cheese does. In essence: if it ain’t grown in Le Puy-en-Velay it ain’t lentilles du Puy. In honour or their heritage, I have chosen essential French flavours for our stew: garlic, red wine, dried mushrooms and bay leaves.
The vegan dumpling recipe comes from mama Turner. She makes the best dumplings ever! She recommends using a butter knife to bring the dough together and not to make it too sticky. If you do, don’t worry! Just add a bit more flour and perseverance.
Serve with dark leafy greens and a pile of buttery mashed potato – using vegan butter if you’re so inclined.
Lentil Stew Recipe with porcini mushrooms and crunchy vegan dumplings
For the lentil stew
- 400 grams puy or green lentils
- 1 red onion medium diced
- 2 carrots peeled and medium diced
- 2 parsnips peeled and medium diced
- 2 sticks celery medium diced
- 4 chestnut mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic sliced thinly
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 sprig rosemary finely chopped
- 1 tbsp herbs de Provence
- 1 small handful of dried porcini mushrooms steeped in a cup of boiled water
- 1 tbsp marmite added to a jug of boiled water
- 1 cube vegetable stock or caramelised onion stock added to the same jug of boiled water, as above
- 1 large glass red wine (can be vegan red wine)
- 1 tbsp tomato pureé
For the vegan dumplings
- 100 grams self-raising flour
- 50 grams vegetable suet
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp herbs de Provence
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Put a large casserole dish on the stove on medium heat. Add the diced onion, carrot, mushrooms, garlic, celery, parsnip, herbs and fry until softened and slightly brown.
Splash in the red wine, and reduce the alcohol off. Then add the marmite/vegetable stock mixture. Drain the water from the porcini mushrooms through a piece of durable kitchen towel in a sieve to remove any grit. Set the revived porcini mushrooms aside. Pour in the lentils and stir.
Rinse off the porcini mushrooms to get rid of any remaining grit, dice them and add them to the stew. Stir in the tomato pureé.
Cook the lentils on the stove for 30 minutes just before they're cooked through with the lid on.
For the dumplings
Combine the flour, suet, salt and herbs together with just enough water for them to combine into a slightly sticky mixture.
Use a spoon to plop them on the top of the casserole. My mum's tip: splash a bit of the liquid from the stew on top of the dumplings - that'll help them crisp up.
Put the stew into the oven for 20 minutes until the dumplings are golden brown.
Serve with creamy mashed potatoes and leafy greens.