I’m so happy to be rejoining #SundaySupper after so long away, particularly as the Halloween theme is my favourite of the year! Hosted by Kathia of Basic N Delicious, this theme allows childish creativity to run wild, which I love. Since I made something sweet last year, and knowing that there would be a glut of fabulous cakes and sweet treats, I decided to tackle a savoury dish and set about creating a Spooky Stew.
At this time of year, a hearty stew is my go-to dinner dish and I love experimenting with different flavour combinations. As this is a Halloween stew, the basic ingredient had to be pumpkin, to which I added sweet potato, carrots, parsnips and red lentils. I found cute baby pumpkins at the local supermarket, so I couldn’t resist using those! My spice base was similarly warming, both in colour and taste, using turmeric and cumin seeds.
The spooky element came in the form of dumplings. Now, I am never going to make classic stew and dumplings as well as my grandma, who makes it better than anyone. Mine is also a vegetarian, gluten-free offering. This means that I can’t use suet in the dumplings, which makes them light and fluffy. Mine are a bit more like savoury scones (the Americans among you may call them ‘biscuits’, but to me that means a chocolate digestive and, as such, is a completely unacceptable accompaniment to stew). If you want to make this dish for yourself and you don’t need it to be gluten-free, you can substitute the butter for the same amount of suet (either animal or vegetable) to get true dumplings.
I made each ‘dumpling’ into a little ghost, by using sultanas for their eyes and open ‘oohing’ mouths. The sultanas also added a certain sweetness to the dish, which, along with the spices, gave it an almost middle-eastern taste.
It’s a bit of fun, with enough of a taste punch to please adults, plus the spooky dumplings may encourage children to eat a whole pile of veg.
I found I had extra stew left over in the pan, so I blitzed it into a soup and froze it for sometime when I need a quick, healthy dinner. 2 meals for the price of 1 – who can complain about that?
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