Beef Stew is what my Mum would make for me when I would return home from university or traveling. It always felt like a warm, winter hug that required second helpings. I love any meal you can eat with just a fork or spoon (and can dip buttered bread into). Dumplings are extremely easy to make, even for a ham-fisted baker like me, so if you haven’t tried to make them before it’s worth a go. You can use leftover roast beef or fresh stewing steak to make a hearty one pot meal that can be frozen or demolished in one sitting.
Serves 2 Adults and 2 Kids
400g leftover roast beef cut into chunks or fresh stewing steak
1litre beef stock
3 large echalion shallots
2 tsp English mustard
2 tbsp roasted garlic or 5 crushed cloves of garlic
50ml Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp nutmeg
3tbsp plain flour
sprigs of rosemary and thyme
dumplings: 75g vegetable suet, 150g self raising flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt, 150ml water
- Tip the diced meat into a bowl then add the flour and 1/2 tsp of salt. Toss to coat the meat. Put the butter into a casserole pot or Dutch oven (anything ovenproof with a lid) on a medium high heat. Once the pan is hot add the meat (in batches if you need to so the pan doesn’t get too crowded). Don’t move the meat for at least 90 seconds whilst it browns on the underside. Turn the meat and brown for another minute before removing back to the flour bowl to rest.
- Peel the shallots and cut in half lengthways then into thirds horizontally. Add the shallots to the pan then add the port and 1/4 tsp of salt. Stir to combine and cook for 3 minutes until the port has thickened then add the Worcestershire sauce, mustard and nutmeg. Stir to combine the flavours then add the stock and stir again.
- Peel the carrots and potatoes then cut into similar sized pieces. They’ll cook at roughly the same pace. Don’t cut them too small, you don’t want mush. Add the chopped veg and sprinkle over 1/2 tsp salt. Add the meat back to the dish, sprinkle over the herbs keeping some thyme for later.
- Put the lid on a bake at 220° (200° Fan) for 1 hour 45 minutes. At this point take the stew out of the oven and remove the herbs and get ready to add your dumplings.
- Do this before the stew has been in the oven for 1 hour 45 minutes. In a mixing bowl tip 75g of vegetable suet, 150g self-raising flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt and 125ml of water. Mix everything together using your hands or a fork then divide the mixture into 8 dumplings.
- When the stew has had 1 hour 45 minutes in the oven place the dumplings on top of the stew, put the lid back on the dish then back in the oven for 20 minutes before removing the lid and cooking for another 5 minutes under the grill to give the dumplings a crispy top. Remove the dish and scatter over some fresh thyme leaves.