Tuesday, February 01, 2011

CRAFTY CORNER: Fiona Harper's Lamb & Parsnip Stew

Today, Fiona Harper shares one of her family's favourite comfort food recipes - perfect for a chilly February day!

This recipe fast became one of my family's favourites after I tried it a few years ago. It's one of those dishes that you can leave simmering on the hob while you get on with other things. The dumplings are a lower-fat version involving no suet and are so filling that there's no need to cook potatoes as well.

Lamb & Parsnip Stew with Dumplings

SERVES 4 (and sometimes more!)

350g (12oz) lean lamb (I often use shoulder, because it's so economical compared to leg)
1 tbsp plain flour
1tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
150g (5oz) carrots, chopped into medium-sized chunks
2 parsnips, cut into similar-sized chunks
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
300ml (½ pint) red wine
450ml (¾ pint) lamb stock
freshly ground black pepper

225g (8oz) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tbsps olive oil
125ml (4fl oz) milk

1. Season the flour with salt and pepper, then cut the lamb into 2cm (¾ inch) chunks and toss in the flour. (I stick it all in a sealable plastic bag and just roll it around until all the meat is covered.) Heat the olive oil in a large, shallow, heavy pan and fry the lamb over a high heat until browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

2. Add 2 tbsps water and the onion to the pan. Stir well over a medium heat, scraping up the crusty golden bits from the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat, cover and steam-fry for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Stir in the carrots, parsnips and bay leaves and cook for 2 minutes, then return the lamb to the pan. Stir in the tomato paste, red wine and stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 1 to 1½ hours or until the lamb and vegatables are beautifully tender.

4. To make the dumplings, sift the flower and baking powder into a bowl and season well. Make a well in the middle. Combine the garlic, olive oil and milk, then add to the well and gradually incorporate the flour to make a soft, but not sticky dough.

5. Shape the dough into 16 small rounds and arrange on top of the stew. Replace the lid and simmer for a further 10 minutes. The dumplings will swell up and lose their slightly glossy appearance. Serve with veg of your choice (I like sweet petit pois) or simply on it's own.

All gone!

Fiona's latest release, Three Weddings And A Baby is out now in shops and is online at Mills and Boon's website! You can even have a sneaky peak at the first chapter! The North American Version, Millionaire's Baby Bombshell, is also availble on eHarlequin now.

Do you believe in love at first sight? Jennie Hunter and Alex Dangerfield did, and they married just a few weeks after they met! But when Alex disappeared on their wedding night Jennie was left alone – and angry – in her honeymoon suite. A month later, and Jennie has given up hope of ever seeing her runaway husband again. Then Alex returns – with his toddler in tow!


  1. Oh golly that stew looks good! And a no-suet dumpling, eh? I have to try it. Tonight!

  2. It *is* good! I cooked it on Sunday for the family (yes, that is my kitchen in the photos) and they wolfed it down.

  3. That stew sounds delicious. I'm from Canada and lamb isn't featured on our menus very often. My husband and I got to like it eating at Greek food restaurants. We do broil lamb chops and make one Greek style stew if we can find inexpensive lamb shoulder. Since my husband reads cook books and often follows though with cooking up a new recipe, i'll have to show him this one. He's the "chef" in our household and I do the prep work. We work together well.

  4. PS ~ I do believe in love at first sight. My husband proposed to me the first time he met me. I accepted about a year later.

  5. Kaelee, that's a fantastic story! And I hope you enjoy the stew. Lamb is expensive here too, so I often look out for it when it's on offer and stick it in the freezer until I decide what I'm going to do with it.

  6. I'd have to tell my husband it was beef. He won't eat lamb. LOL. But your recipe is v. similar in method to my beef stew (including the red wine, lol!). Mmmmm! I might try your dumplings!

  7. If you want an extra touch try adding chestnuts into the stew and chives in to the dumplings- it tastes amazing, and really low fat.