Real Pub Food at Home – Dumplings and Mince, recipe courtesy of Harvard Common Press

By now you have read the amazing recaps of the Boston Brunchers event that I set up with Harvard Common Press. Let’s just say that it was a day to remember. And one of the ways I get to relive that day, is through the beautiful cookbooks Harvard Common Press sent me home with!

I was instantly drawn to Ploughman’s Lunch and Miser’s Feast by Brian Yarvin. Nevermind the beautiful pictures, and witty storytelling within the book, the recipes are exactly what I had been looking for. Most of you are familiar with my ethnic background, so the fact that lamb stews and savory pies call my name should be no surprise.
For my first adventure with this cookbook, I decided to try the Dumplings and Mince recipe. I’m not going to lie, I picked this mostly based on the fact that I had all of the ingredients.

I must say I was more than happy with my choice. The flavors were simple, but delicious. Reading the recipe I was a little worried it would be bland, but it was nothing of the sort. I am definitely putting this recipe into my normal dinner rotation, it is the perfect solution for a winter’s night dinner.

I will note that I made a few substitutions. I will note those below in the recipe. I don’t think it altered the flavor or texture of the recipe, so I’m secure in standing behind my review of the recipe.

Oh yes, the recipe also called for serving this dish with boiled or mashed potatoes. I went with mashed potatoes. On a whim, I added a scoop of Plain Low-Fat Chobani Greek Yogurt. They were scrumptious, and the perfect complement to this meal!

Dumplings and Mince

(Closely adapted from The Ploughman’s Lunch and the Miser’s Feast, my notes are in italics)


  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot (about 2 small carrots)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage (I didn’t have sage so I substituted poultry seasoning)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded beef suet or shortening (I substituted Plain Chobani Greek Yogurt)
  • 1 1/2 cup water, plus more if needed (This was the perfect amount for me)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Mashed or boiled potatoes, for serving (I served with Chobani Mashed Potatoes)


  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat
  • Add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to brown at the edges, about 15 minutes (I waited until the carrots were tender, I hate crunchy cooked carrots. It took less than 15 minutes, maybe 10 instead)
  • Add the ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is fully browned, about 30 minutes
  • While meat is cooking break up any large chunks
  • While the beef is cooking, begin making the dumplings (I recommend making the dumplings before you start the beef mixture. Your hands get VERY messy and it is hard to stir anything while you are making the dumplings)
  • Combine flour, baking powder, sage (or poultry seasoning), thyme, 1/2 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp pepper in a bowl
  • Mix well
  • Add the suet (shortening or yogurt), to flour mixture and with your fingers, use a pinching motion to combine ingredients (I used more of a kneading motion. This is the VERY messy part. Rub your hands together to get the dough off of your hands)
  • Add 1/2 cup of water and work into the mixture, with your hands, until a dough forms
  • If it’s too dry, add more water 1 Tbsp at a time
  • If it’s too sticky or soggy, add flour 1 Tbsp at a time
  • Divide the dough into 8 small balls and set aside (Wet your hands before rolling the dough into balls. It will keep it from sticking to your hands. The next time I make this, instead of 8 balls, I am going to make the dough into bite sized smaller dumplings. When I was eating this, I chopped my dumplings up and mixed them in and it was delicious. So I think bite sized dumplings would be perfect.)
  • Once the meat has browned, add the bay leaf, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and 1 cup water to the meat
  • Bring the liquid quickly to a simmer
  • Stir well
  • Place the dough balls on top of the meat mixture
  • Reduce heat to medium-low, cover the pot and let simmer until the dumplings are cooked through. About 20 minutes
  • If the top of the dumplings are still raw looking, flip them over and cook for 10 minutes more
  • Serve warm, with mashed or boiled potatoes if you like

Chobani Mashed Potatoes


  • 2 large Idaho potatoes (peeled, and cut into eighths)
  • Water
  • 2 Tbsp butter (I use Olivio Spread)
  • 2 heaping Tbsp of Plain Chobani Greek Yogurt
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Place potatoes in a medium sauce pan and cover with water
  • Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil
  • Allow to boil until potatoes break easily with a fork (about 12 -15 min)
  • Drain potatoes and place in a mixing bowl
  • Add butter, yogurt, salt & pepper
  • Using an electric mixer, blend until they are the desired consistency
  • If potatoes are too dry, add another Tbsp of yogurt
  • Taste for salt and pepper
  • Enjoy!

6 Replies to “Real Pub Food at Home – Dumplings and Mince, recipe courtesy of Harvard Common Press”

  1. It may be after midnight, but I definitely drooled a little bit on my keyboard. I SO wish I had snagged that book. It just went right to the top of my wishlist!

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