Beef soup with herb dumplings

The addition of home-made dumplings makes this a very tiling meal-in-a-bowl for a cold day. The dumplings shown here are beautifully light because breadcrumbs are used in place of some of the flour. In order to bind (hold together) the breadcrumbs thoroughly into the pastry, egg is used instead of water.

Make 4-5 small ones or one large one for each person. Add 20 minutes to the cooking time for larger ones. Add shreds of meat reserved after making the broth or from leftovers.

- 1.15 L [2 pt] beef stock
- 125 g [¼ Ib] cooked beef cut into bite-sized pieces
- 75 g [3 oz] onion
- 75 g [3 oz] carrot
- 50 g [2 oz] potato
- 1 celery stalk
- salt and pepper

For the dumplings:
- 50 g [2 oz] self-raising flour
- 50 g [2 oz] fresh breadcrumbs
- 50 g [2 oz] shredded suet
- 15 ml [1 tablespoon] freshly chopped mixed herbs
- 1 small egg
- salt and pepper

1. Make the suet pastry for the dumplings by the usual method adding the herbs and breadcrumbs with the dry ingredients. Beat the egg with a fork and add it in place of the usual water.

2. Put the dough on to a floured board. Divide it into pieces smaller than a walnut and roll each piece into a ball between your floured palms.

3. Put the beef stock into a flameproof casserole or saucepan and bring to simmering point.

4. Scrub or peel and trim the vegetables. Chop the onions, dice the carrots and potatoes, and slice the celery. Add to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes.

5. Add the dumplings; cover the pan with a lid and simmer for a further 10 minutes.

6. Two or three minutes before the end of cooking time, add the meat in shreds. Then check seasoning.
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