Celeriac and red wine stew with Cheddar dumplings
Celeriac is a bit of a beast to look at, but looks aren’t everything. Beneath that gnarly, knobbly exterior lies creamy white flesh with a sweet, nutty, super-savoury flavour. We eat it raw, in thin shavings, in salads with a mustardy dressing, or cut into steaks brushed with herbs and griddled, and sometimes, roasted whole. Here, though, I use it as the base for a stew with some Cheddar-spiked dumplings on top. Food for dark evenings with red wine. Be sure to peel your celeriac thickly to get rid of any green tinges around the edge and any leftover muddy traces.
FOR THE STEW
2 red onions, sliced
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled but left whole
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 2cm-thick slices
900g celeriac, peeled and chopped into 2cm pieces
1⁄2 a bottle of red wine
600ml vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
a few sprigs of rosemary
1 heaped tablespoon harissa
1 x 400g tin white beans, drained (I use haricot)
150g cavolo nero, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon Marmite
1 teaspoon tomato purée
FOR THE DUMPLINGS
100g celeriac saved from the stew
100g cold butter or vegan butter
50g crumbly Cheddar or vegan Cheddar-style cheese
200g self-raising flour
a few sprigs of thyme
egg yolk for brushing (optional)
greens and mustard
Heat a heavy-based lidded casserole dish on a medium-high heat and add a good glug of olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or so until beginning to brown.
Meanwhile, peel and chop your veg, making sure you set aside 100g of the celeriac for the dumplings. Once the onions have had their time, add the carrots and celeriac to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Next, pour in the wine, stock, herbs, harissa and a good pinch of salt and put the lid on. Transfer to a low oven, 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4, and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Make your dumpling mixture. Grate the reserved celeriac and the butter into a bowl and crumble in the Cheddar in small pieces. Add the flour and strip in the leaves of the thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of very cold water and use your hands to bring the dumpling mixture together until you have a nice dough (if it looks dry you could add a few drops of water). Roll the dumplings into 12–16 balls.
The stew is ready when the vegetables are soft and yielding and the wine has reduced. Stir through the beans and the greens, plus the Marmite and purée and place the dumplings on top, brushed with a little egg yolk if you like, leaving a little room in between for them to increase in size. Cook in the oven (no lid this time) for another 25–30 minutes until browned on top. Serve with lemon-dressed greens and mustard.