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Thursday, 14 April 2011

Beef Stew with Dumplings

You can make this recipe easier on yourself by just making the stew with 600ml of stock and 200ml red wine and just leaving it in the oven for 2 - 2½ hours, served with a potato side-dish, but my husband and I have quite a soft spot for a good dumpling! This makes a lovely thick and very warm-your-bones stew, and is a great way to use some cheap cuts of beef - the long slow cook makes it very tender. Recipe is slightly adapted from the British Food Bible.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients for the Stew
3 tbsps olive oil
2 medium-large onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1kg casserole steak (or braising steak), trimmed and cut into pieces
2 tbsps plain flour
Hefty sprinkle of seasoning
1 litre beef stock
300ml red wine
1 bouquet garni (I use a dried one from Tesco)

Ingredients for the Herb Dumplings
115g self raising flour
55g suet
1tsp mustard
1 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp finely chopped fresh sage
A little seasoning
4 tbsp cold water


  • Preheat oven to 150°C
  • I use a flame-proof casserole dish, but if you don't have one of these, use a frying pan first, and transfer to an oven-proof casserole dish with a lid
  • On a medium heat on the hob, heat 1 tbsp of the oil and fry the onion and garlic until soft and golden. Remove from the pan
  • Turn the heat up, use the remaining 2 tbsps of oil and quickly brown the meat all over
  • Sprinkle in the flour and stir well
  • Turn the heat down to medium, pour in 300mls of stock, stirring well to blend it together
  • (At this point, move all the cooked ingredients into the casserole dish if necessary)
  • Add the cooked onions, bouquet garni, seasoning and and 200ml of red wine, mix together.
  • Cover and put into the oven for an hour
  • After an hour, take the casserole dish out and check liquid levels - I find the original recipe quite dry, so at this stage I have taken to adding a further 200-300ml of stock, and if necessary a dash more wine
  • Cover and put into the oven for an additional hour, when the hour is up - leave the oven on, and leave the stew in whilst you start making your dumplings
  • Place the dry dumpling ingredients into a bowl and mix well
  • Add the water to the mix a bit at the time till you create a firm, but soft dough. Use a bit of flour and your hands to shape them into 10-12 dumplings
  • Take the stew out of the oven, remove the bouquet garni, add a bit more liquid if you need (the dumplings will soak up some liquid)
  • Add the dumplings and push down under the liquid. Cover, and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes till the dumplings double in size

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