Lamb stew and dumplings….just the thought evokes loving nostalgia – a nourishing meal that both my late Gran (bless her) and my mum excelled at. For many, a stew is a quick mix of meat and veggies some-times all hurriedly thrown in together just to get the cooking process out of the way and a one pot nutritious meal to feed the family on a cold and rainy day. For me, a well cooked stew, slow cooked, allowing the juices of the meat and vegetable to form relationship and combine into a thick- gravied serving of a meal, well prepared and cooked with enthusiasm, is a true labour of love as all prepared meals should be!
In considering dumplings for a gluten free lifestyle, I wanted to avoid an all gluten-free flour mix, which is an alternative to the traditional way of making flour based dumplings, which often turns out into a stodgy mess if not made correctly. In my recipe books I came across the cauliflower dumplings and decided to try it out, thinking of a light and fluffy dumpling that would complement the stew -.this puts a totally new spin on healthy dumplings and making them follows the similar cauliflower preparation method in making Cauliflower Wraps, in terms of grating or pulsing the cauliflower until it reaches grain size, steaming and wringing out the water in a kitchen towel, which will render a flour-like finish. Added to the lamb stew, this rounds it off completely with cauliflower dumplings!
I have used a simple stew recipe, which I use often and have included just celery and carrots in this one pot mix. It is not limited by the vegetables you prefer to add and may include sweet potato if you miss the Irish stew combination of meat and potatoes. This stew will work well with stewing beef as well. I chose to use meaty lamb knuckles in this version. Boneless lamb is also an option.
This lamb stew is definitely a winner in a line of many tried and tested recipes on my blog – having this as dinner tonight made me reflect on the simplicity of this meal of real wholesome foods, without preservatives and highly processed ingredients and one of the rare meals that I have prepared without the pungent spiciness to which I am accustomed! This is without a doubt a more-ish Winter warmer which I know you will enjoy both preparing and eating.
Lamb Stew Ingredients
2-3 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
500g stewing lamb or lamb knuckles, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 medium onions , roughly chopped
2 sticks of celery, leaves removed, stems chopped
2 carrots ,peeled and roughly chopped
sprigs of dried or fresh rosemary
1-2 heaped tblsp tapioca flour or arrow root powder
500ml lamb stock or vegetable stock, preservative and sugar free, preferably home made
400g can of chopped tomatoes
Himalayan or Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 whole cloves
- Brown the lamb in a pot with the olive oil on medium heat, add the onions and cook until the meat is sealed and the onions begin to soften.
- Add in the carrots, celery and rosemary sprigs and mix well with the browned meat and onions
- Sprinkle over the arrow root powder or tapioca flour and mix well.
- Add in the canned tomato and stock.
- Season and mix well.
- Bring to a boil, then simmer on your stove top on medium heat for approximately 2 hours checking regularly that there is sufficient liquid in the stew. You may need to add half to one cup of boiling water if it is required.
- The cauliflower dumplings should be added about 15 minutes before the stew is cooked.
- Once cooked, the meat should be soft and tender, and have absorbed the slow-cooked stew flavours of the tomato, stock, vegetable and seasoning.
1 medium or 2 small heads cauliflower
1/4 cup tapioca flour or 2 tblsp physillium husk (I used this as I ran out of tapioca flour!)
1/4 cup coconut flour or 1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp Himalayan or Sea Salt
Optional: Mixed herbs or seasoning of preference
- Cut the cauliflower florets into pieces add to a food processor and pulse the cauliflower until a fine rice texture is achieved.
- Transfer the grain-like or riced-cauliflower to a microwave-safe bowl, cover and steam in the microwave for 10 minutes — until very well cooked. (In this recipe I tried the microwave as opposed to the stove top or steamer method). Allow to cool to nearly room temperature.
- Once cooled, wrap completely in a clean kitchen towel and twist hard to wring out all moisture. This stage is very important.
- The cooked grain-like cauliflower should now look a lot like flour. Place the moisture-free, cooled cauliflower into a mixing bowl and add an egg, a quarter cup each of tapioca and coconut flours, and a quarter teaspoon of Himalyan or sea salt. You may add seasoning of your choice as preferred.
- Mix together with a spoon first in the bowl, then turn out onto a kitchen board or counter to knead, shape into a round ball, then pinch balls, mould into the shape of your required dumpling size and allow to rest while the stew cooks.
Gently top the soup with the cauliflower dumplings. Allow them to float on the surface of the soup. You may want to add an extra grinding of salt and pepper. Cover the pot reduce the heat to low and let cook for approximately 15 minutes.
Serve this delicious, rustic tasting slow-cooked stew, piping hot, sprinkled with chopped spring onion or fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley for garnish.