What to do with your veg delivery box.
On Monday I came home to a big box at my doorstep. I got my first delivery from Abel & Cole, the vegetable box delivery scheme I ordered from.
I began unpacking, and unpacking, layer after layer: lettuce, a huge red pepper, leeks, kiwi fruit, fair trade bananas, baby red onions, Jerusalem artichokes, the biggest parsnip I've ever seen, filthy carrots, and dirt clods I later discovered were potatoes.
It was dinner time, but what was I to do with a box of filthy produce?
I started washing and peeling, tossing veg into a roasting dish as I chopped it, then poured a liberal glug of olive oil over all, added some sprigs of rosemary, and popped the whole thing in the oven. Some leftovers rounded out the meal, but the next day, I still had lots of veg left in the box.
While I was at the dentist I had a great idea: dumplings, simmering over a winter vegetable stew. I'd seen a recipe for mustard dumplings in a magazine a few months ago, but it was long since consigned to the heap of foodie mags I keep meaning to recycle. Google and a bit of Waitrose wholegrain mustard provided the inspiration, however, and those lovely pebbly pillows were soon bubbling away in their stew.
I added the leftover roasted veggies to the stew, which is why some of the parsnips are chunkier than others, but it only added to the complex flavor.
Next time, I'll order a smaller box, minus the exotic fruit. Note to self: Buy a vegetable scrubber.
Winter Vegetable Stew with Mustard and Chive Dumplings
1 onion, diced
2 or 3 stalks celery, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 carrots, diced
1 or 2 parsnips, diced (about 1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, minced
5 or 6 mushrooms, quartered
1 or 2 potatoes, chopped
1 15 oz can of chopped tomatoes
1 15 oz can cannelloni beans
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
4 or 5 cups vegetable stock—as needed
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
fresh parsley, snipped, for garnish
1 cup self-raising flour
½ teaspoon mustard powder
¼ cup margarine
½ cup soymilk
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
1 teaspoon snipped chives
In a large dutch oven, sauté the onion and celery in the olive oil. When onion is soft (5-10 minutes) add the carrots, parsnips, garlic, potato, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans and herbs. Cover with vegetable stock and simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes.
Prepare the dumplings:
Mix flour and mustard powder, and cut in margarine with a fork. Squeeze with your fingers until it’s crumbly, then combine soymilk and mustard in a small bowl. Add to the flour mixture, stirring well. Stir in the snipped chives.
Form the mixture into loose balls with a spoon and drop over the simmering stew. Cover, and simmer over medium heat for 25 minutes, until the dumplings are done. (A toothpick will come out dry when inserted in the middle.) Watch to make sure the liquid doesn't boil away; add more stock or water if necesssary.
Add salt and freshly ground pepper as needed. Sprinkle with snipped parsley or additional chives and serve hot in large shallow bowls.
Note: Feel free to vary the vegetables, according to what’s in your vegetable delivery. Any root vegetable would work well in this, as well as sweet potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, celeraic, eggplant/aubergine and zucchini/courgette.