The first time I had dumplings with stew I was mildly repulsed. Having grown up with the notion that all dumplings were of the Chinese kind, I listened on in horror while my dad told me what suet was. I soon warmed to the idea of it as the doughy, puffy dumplings soaked up the meaty gravy in stodgy happiness.
I decided to add a twist to these dumplings. Usually when I make a beef stew I dissolve a couple of anchovies in the oil before adding anything else. This gives the stew an deeper, richer flavour with none of the fishiness. Instead, the anchovies went into the dumplings with parsley for some grassy freshness. It worked beautifully, just as I'd hoped - the anchovies had melted into the dumplings well. The tops were slightly crisp and they yielded softly under the fork. The shin of beef in red wine stew was complete.
Parsley & Anchovy Dumplings
Makes 6 - enough for 2
110gr self raising flour
4 anchovy fillets
A large handful of finely chopped parsley
1/2 tbsp mustard powder
Sift the flour into a large bowl with the mustard powder. Chop the anchovy fillets finely and add to the flour with the parsley and suet. Add black pepper to taste (the anchovies are salty enough to eschew salt) and a dribble of water. Work the water into the ingredients well, before adding a little more until the dough comes together and isn't too sticky. Roll into balls and place atop your finished stew, baking at 200 degrees uncovered for 20 minutes.