One of the most requested recipes when I worked on the advice line at Juvela, was for gluten free dumplings. And then generally within the same enquiry, I would be asked about where to purchase gluten free suet?
Gluten free suet can be a bit tricky to get hold of. However, I have a great tip that I’m about to share with you. Which will mean, you no longer have to specifically source gluten free suet to make dumplings or suet puddings!
So yes, this wonderful tip was one of the many things I learnt whist working at Juvela. It’s so simple, but pure genius. As, all you need to do to substitute the suet – if you are not able to get hold of gf suet – is to weigh out the quantity you require in lard or a vegetable shortening such as ‘TREX’ instead (when making a gluten free Christmas pud it’s nice to use butter), wrap it in a piece of greaseproof paper, pop into a freezer bag, and then into the freezer for about ½hr, to chill and harden. Then, simply remove from the freezer and grate into the gluten free flour.
I’ve made these gluten free dumplings twice over the last week. The first time, we enjoyed them in a tasty beef and tomato casserole. And then today I tried them in a beef with red wine stew, inspired by a James Martin recipe.
The dumplings will of course be great in any stew or casserole you decide to rustle up and should be added about 20- 25 minutes before the end of cooking. They do soak up a bit of liquid, so if your stew is a little thick, just thin it down with a drop of boiling water before you add the dumplings.
175g (6oz) gluten free self-raising flour (I used Sainsburys gluten free plain flour on this occasion. If using a gluten free mix or plain flour you will then need to add 1 teaspoon of gluten free baking powder.)
75g (3oz) lard or vegetable shortening (or of course gf suet if you can get it)
Salt and *black pepper
Wrap the lard in greaseproof paper, slip into a freezer bag and chill in the freezer to harden for ½hr.
Sift the gf flour (and baking powder if using gf plain flour) into a large bowl. Add a pinch of salt and a little black pepper.
Grate the chilled lard into the flour, tossing it a bit in the flour as you go, so you coat the lard and ensure it doesn’t all clump together.
Make sure the lard is well distributed, then add enough water to make a firm but sticky dough. It’s best not to over handle the mixture at this point, as you will break down the lard pieces.
Remove the stew/casserole from the oven. Roughly form the dumpling mixture into about 8 balls and gently drop them into the stew – again, best not to over handle the mixture, as you will blend in the fat. And after all, it really doesn’t matter if your dumplings look a little wonky!
Now, at this point it’s entirely up to you if you choose to cover your stew, with foil or a lid before returning to the oven. You will get a softer, paler dumpling if you cover and a more crunchy golden brown one if you leave uncovered.
Return the dish to the oven for about 20-25 minutes 200C/400F/Gas 6/180C Fan. After this time your dumplings should have puffed up and be light and fluffy!
I know lots of people like to enjoy stew and dumplings with mash, but I personally love it with little roast potatoes and some freshly cooked petit pois! And if possible a punchy glass of red!
*Check this product out to ensure no gluten containing ingredients or ‘may contain’ or ‘not suitable’ warnings on the pack. If in doubt leave it out.