Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Call this cold? Well, yes, actually!

The cold weather has really brought us round to stews and casseroles again.  Milder winters in recent years have meant less of a marked change in our diet from one season to the next but this year I am really feeling wintry and more in need of hearty, rib-sticking dishes to warm my chilled marrow right through.  Originally, when planning supper for tonight, I thought of Goulash, but the lack of beef available in my freezer, and the need to use up a surfeit of pork, meant that this has ended up more like the equally appealing Pörkölt. 

For the accompaniment, first I thought rice, then I thought noodles (for which read tagliatelle), then I wondered about couscous.  Then it came to me, as obvious as it should have been all along... DUMPLINGS!!!  Called knedlíky when dishes not dissimilar to this are made  in Czechoslovakia, my dumplings immediately felt 'right' with this dish.  We all love dumplings anyway, so nI wonder what was wrong with me not to think of them straightaway.  No matter, this was especially lovely with a glass of robust Shiraz.

Slightly Slavic Pork Stew

Incidentally, the dumpling 'recipe' can be used to bulk up any stews or casseroles - and add any herbs or spices you feel would enhance your meal.  I prefer them plain and unfettered with a highly-flavoured stew like this one.

25g butter and a little cooking oil
1 large onion, halved and sliced
700g lean boneless pork, cut into cubes
2 tbsp smoked paprika (I use La Chinata, which seems quite widely available)

1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
1 yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks1 green pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
100g mushrooms, cut into chunks
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée

For the dumplings:

150g self-raising flour
50g suet
salt and pepper
milk or water to bind to a loose dough

Heat the fat and fry the onion until soft.  Add the pork and brown it a little, then mix in the vegetable chunks.  Pour in the tomatoes and half a can of water with the tomato purée, and cook at 160° for 1 hour 15 minutes, then, if you like, mix the ingredients for the dumplings together, form into half-a-dozen small balls with wetted hands and add them to the pan, cooking the uncovered stew at 180°c for a further quarter of an hour.

Cath xx

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