Good food does not have to be made with fancy, unusual ingredients. Everyday produce will cook and taste just as delicious. This recipe is easy to prepare, simple to cook and cheap to make – and it can be served as a starter or a complete meal. The dish itself came together purely by accident. I was braising some cabbage for one dish and making dumplings for a beef stew. The cabbage and dumplings became an instant success, as it has plenty of textures, tastes and flavours from just a few ingredients.

Both the cabbage soup and dumpling recipes are very basic and can, of course, be varied – a little garlic in the soup, or different herbs and spices in the dumplings. Even the Spinach Dumplings could be rolled smaller and used as a garnish.

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Ingredients

  • 1 Savoy cabbage, finely shredded
  • 50 g (2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1.2 litres (2 pints) Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock
  • 2 onions, finely shredded
  • 6 smoked bacon rashers, rinded and cut into thin strips
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper

For the Dumplings

  • 225 g (8 oz) plain flour
  • 15 g (½ oz) baking powder
  • 100 g (4 oz) dried shredded suet
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
  • About 150 ml (5 fl oz) water
  • 450 ml (15 fl oz) Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock, warmed

Method

If you are baking the dumplings (see below), pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.

To make the dumplings, mix together the flour, baking powder, suet and herbs and season with salt and pepper. Gradually add just enough water until the mixture forms a dough. Leave to rest for 20 minutes then roll into 2 cm (¾ in) balls. These can be placed in the warm stock and either cooked in the pre-heated oven or on top of the stove, allowing them to bake or simmer slowly for about 20 minutes.

While the dumplings are cooking, cook the cabbage. Place the butter in a warm pan, add the onions and cook for 5 minutes without allowing them to colour. Add the bacon and cook for a further 5 minutes. Pour in the stock, bring to the simmer and simmer for 5–10 minutes. Bring to the boil, add the cabbage and simmer for about 4–5 minutes until tender. Check the seasoning and add the dumplings. The dish is now complete.

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