Introduction: English Dumplings for Stew

I'm a big fan of stew, it's a great inexpensive meal and a very warming, comforting dish in the winter.
Having read a recent instructable on making beef stew by jessyratfink I'm not going to show you all how to cook stew again, however, stew just isn't the same without dumplings. By dumplings, I'm referring to the English/Irish type as there are many different kinds of dumplings in cuisines worldwide
These are also easy and cheap to make and add a bit of bulk to your meal helping to fill you up. It also means you don't need bread rolls to accompany the meal, which is great for me as I keep forgetting to buy any.

Step 1: Ingredients

Basic ingredients:

100g Self-raising flour
50g shredded beef (or vegetarian) suet
pinch of salt
little cold water to bind

You should weigh the ingredients, but I don't appear to have any scales, so I'm just guestimating for now based on my experience.

I like to add other flavours to my dumplings depending upon the stew I've made. Some ideas to add into the dumpling mix are:

soft herbs, either fresh of dried, such as Parsley, Sage, Thyme, Oregano, chives
Spices, such as Cumin, Cinnamon, Cardamon, mustard powder
Fruit zest like lemon, lime or orange
Some grated cheese can also be placed in the centre of each dumping ball when rolling them.

Some people add fresh breadcrumbs to their dumplings to help make them lighter, I don't, but feel free to experiment to get them how you like.

Step 2: Method

There's not really much to this. The main point to remember is that you don't knead this dough, you want the suet to remain whole, so gentle mixing and rolling is all that's required:
  1. Put all the ingredients, except the water, in a mixing bowl and mix together. ( I use a knife so as not to over work the suet)
  2. Add a little water at a time and gently mix until it starts to clump together
  3. When the mixture starts to clean the sides of the bowl you're pretty much ready, adjust the flour/water to get it all to loosely come together. it should be quite dry and not really sticky, if it is too sticky add more flour.
  4. Take small pinch of the mixture and roll into small balls, about squash ball size (again, don't squash or knead these, you want the suet to stay whole)
  5. Pop these on top of your gently simmering stew, replace the lid
  6. Wait 20 minutes so the dumplings steam and puff up
This stew is actually a spiced chilli style and I've added a little cumin and lemon zest to the dumplings.

Step 3: EAT!

Once the dumplings are cooked through you're ready to eat.
They should be light and fluffy, provided you didn't squash the suet.