Lentil Hotpot w/ Feta & Thyme Dumplings

This recipe is for a warm hearty vegetarian hotpot full of protein and healthy vegetables; topped off with soft tasty dumplings. A good casserole is a great meal to feed hungry bellies and with the addition of a fine stout beer this one really is rich and satisfying.

The recipe includes a homemade spicy tomato sauce to go in the hotpot however, if you are short on time, use two cups of store brought arrabiata or passata instead.Use whatever vegetables you prefer, sweet peas, potato or beans would all work well or even a tin of mixed beans like kidney or butter beans. For a vegan version simply omit the feta cheese from the dumplings or use a soy cheese instead.

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Lentil Hotpot w/ Feta & Thyme Dumplings
Preparation Time: 1hr 15mins // Serves 4-6

for the spicy passata (equivalent 2 cups store brought)

  • olive oil
  • 4 ripe tomatoes
  • 1 red capsicum (bell pepper), halved & deseeded
  • 1-2 chillies
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tbs brown sugar

for the hotpot

  • 1-2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 brown onions, sliced
  • 250g (9 oz) Swiss mushrooms, halved
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery sticks, diced
  • 350g (12 oz) brown lentils, rinsed
  • 375ml (13.2 fl oz) stout beer
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups vegetable stock (I used a no animal content “beef” stock)
  • 2 tbs parsley, roughly chopped

for the dumplings

  • 100g (3.5 oz) plain unbleached flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 25g (0.9 oz) dairy or non-dairy butter
  • 100g (3.5 oz) feta crumbled (omit if vegan)
  • 1-2 tbs fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tbs water

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/356°F and place an oiled baking tray in to warm.

Once the baking tray and oil are warm remove and place the whole tomatoes, chillies and garlic (smashed with the flat of a knife) onto the tray; cover the garlic cloves with the capsicum (bell pepper) halves, cut side down.

Drizzle with a little extra olive oil and return to the oven for 20-25 minutes until tomatoes and capsicum are soft and starting to golden. Set aside to cool.

Once cooled, in a food processor blend the tomatoes, capsicum, chilli and garlic with the brown sugar until smooth. Set aside.

Meanwhile add the olive oil to a large flameproof casserole dish. Add the onion and fry for 4-5 minutes until soft.

Add the carrot and celery continue to cook for 1-2 minutes; add the mushrooms and cook for a further 4-5 minutes until vegetables start to soften.

Add the lentils and toss to combine; add the stout and cook for a further minute.

Add the bay leaves, stock and prepared passata; bring to a gentle boil.

Simmer on the stove top for 25-30 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed and lentils are just tender.

Place the casserole dish into the pre-heated oven a cook for 20 minutes and 180°C/356°F.

To make the dumplings sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Rub in the butter, stir trough the crumbled feta if using and the thyme leaves; season with salt and pepper. Add the water and bring the mixture together to form a soft dough. Set aside.

Remove the casserole after 20 minutes add the parsley and gently mix through, check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

Roll the dumpling mixture into soft, small balls and drop on top of the hotpot. Cover and return to the oven for 15-20 minutes until dumplings are lightly brown and fluff.

Serve warm sprinkled with a little extra parsley.

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