This is a filling winter stew with simple ingredients of root vegetables and beans, and beer! If you don’t like using suet, which is uber hydrogenated vegetable fat, you can make the dumplings by using a bits of cold margarine instead. Me and Lucy made this in the Cowley Cafe, a volunteer run vegan cafe which is part of the Cowley Club social centre, and we made about 20 generous portions and served it with stir fried savoy cabbage and garlic bread. Nom.
It’s really not too hard to cook on a larger scale. It’s more economical, less wasteful and more sociable than just cooking for you and your own. Invest in a decent large heavy bottomed pan, buy some bulk vegetables, grains and pulses (which usually also works out cheaper). Then invite your friends and neighbours round (and if you are all inviting each other regularly, you are spreading the cost around!) or have potlucks. And why not try cooking in a community cafe or for an event near you, or join in the cooking at a protest camp?
Some recipes don’t work well on a larger scale if you aren’t some kind of Masterchef, such as really fiddly filled vegetables or souffles or whatnot, or if you aren’t rich, such as heavily tofu or tempeh based dishes, but I reckon anyone can take a decent stew or curry recipe and scale it up. Make sure you are taste testing the seasoning throughout, don’t add too much liquid at the beginning, and stir a lot to prevent burning. The cooking time is usually a bit longer (10 litres of liquid will take longer to come to the boil than 1 litre) and the veg prep may take a while, so put some music on and get a friend to help you. There you go, instant awesome mass catering fun.
You can download our pdf with many more tips, and recipes about mass catering at http://www.eco-action.org/teapot/publications.htm
What you need for 6 portions:
- 2 onions
- 2 sticks of celery
- 1 parsnip
- 3 potatoes
- 1-2 carrots
- 2-3 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
- either: 750g beans soaked overnight – any mixture e.g. kidney, cannellini, haricot, flageolet, aduki, pinto OR 2×400g tins of mixed pulses and 1×400g tin baked beans
- 350ml stout or a dark ale
- 6 tbsp dried mixed herbs, e.g. rosemary, marjoram, thyme, parsley, basil
- pinch of sugar
- 225g self raising flour
- 110g vegetable suet
- salt and pepper
1.If using dried beans, bring them to the boil in fresh water, boil vigourously for 10 minutes then simmer for up to an hour or until all the beans are done. Drain.
2.Peel and slice the onion, and scrub and cut the parsnip, carrots and potatoes into bite sized chunks. Cut the celery into thin slices.
3.Heat the oil in a wide, heavy bottomed pan that has a well fitting lid and gently fry the vegetables for 5-10 minutes.
4.If you are using tinned beans, drain the mixed pulses. Add them and the baked beans, or the cooked dried beans, to the vegetables along with the beer and 3 tbsp herbs. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
5.Mix the rest of the herbs with the flour, suet and salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Gradually add about 12 tbsp cold water until you have a sticky dough (less water if you are using margarine). Stir the casserole, then drop spoonfuls of the dough into it (you should get at least 12 out of the amount – 2 dumplings per portion), cover and cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes.Garnish with some chopped parsley or a dab of soy cream, or both.