Spicy beef stew with cornmeal dumplings

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cornmeal dumplings
cornmeal dumplings
  • Serves: 8

  • Prep time:

  • Cooking time:

  • Total time:

  • Skill level: Easy peasy

  • Costs: Cheap as chips

Our cornmeal dumplings with beef stew are a comforting meal - perfect for any winter night. Cornmeal dumplings are really popular in Jamaican cuisine and are served as an accompaniment to a variety of dishes. We love the way they soak up the meaty juices from this beef stew. Making your own cornmeal dumplings is so easy. You can also use polenta is you can't find cornmeal.


  • 2tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1kg diced stewing steak or brisket
  • 3 onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2tsp ground cumin
  • 2tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 1-1½tsp chilli powder, depending on taste
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1½tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 large green pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • Lime wedges, large handful of coriander leaves and chopped jalapeño chilli peppers
For the dumplings:
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 90g polenta or cornmeal
  • ½tsp caster sugar
  • 90g cold butter, grated

You can freeze the uncooked dumplings, and freeze the cooked chilli. Defrost the chilli separately, then top with the frozen dumplings, cover, and cook for 15 mins.


  1. Heat the oven to 160C. Heat 1tbsp oil in a casserole, brown the beef in 3 batches over a medium heat; set aside. Heat the rest of the oil in the casserole and cook the onions for 5 mins. Add the carrots and cook for 4 mins more.
  2. Add the cumin, paprika and chilli, and mix well. Add the thyme, chopped tomatoes and 2 cans of water. Return the beef to the pan and add the Worcestershire sauce. Bring to the boil, then cook in the oven for 3 hours, or until tender. Add the green pepper for the last 4 mins of cooking.
  3. To make the dumplings, mix the flour, polenta, or cornmeal, sugar,1/4tsp salt, butter and 8tbsp water to make a thick, sticky dough. Roll it into 24 balls. Set on top of the casserole, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook on a fast simmer for 15 mins. Add a squeeze of lime, coriander and chopped jalapeños. Serve with rice on the side, if you like.

Nutritional information per portion

  • Low
  • Med
  • High
  • Calories 464(kcal)
  • Fat 19.0g
  • Saturates 8.0g

This nutritional information is only a guide and is based on 2,000 calories per day. For more information on eating a healthy diet, please visit the Food Standards Agency website.

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.

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