This all-in-one beef and beer stew with dumplings is a great winter warmer that is sure to feed all the family. It’s easy to make and is a great way of getting the best flavour out of your tender beef
- 2tbsp sunflower oil
- 1kg diced stewing or braising steak
- 250g shallots, peeled
- 350g Chantenay carrots
- 2 level tbsp plain flour
- 440ml can bitter or ale
- 1 beef stock cube
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the dumplings:
- 150g self-raising flour
- 75g shredded suet
Set the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3. Heat the oil in a sauté pan or large frying pan, and add a single layer of the meat. If it doesn’t all fit in the pan, cook it in batches. Brown all surfaces of the meat over a medium heat. The secret is to let each surface of the meat pieces brown completely before turning, rather than continually stirring. That way, the juices will be nicely sealed in and the meat properly caramelised to give the best flavour.
Remove the meat from the pan, add the shallots and carrots to the juices and cook for a few mins, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown. Return the beef to the pan, with any juices that have escaped, and sprinkle over the flour. Stir well, then pour in the ale, add the stock cube and bay leaves, season and bring to the boil. Transfer mixture to a covered casserole dish, and cook in the centre of the oven for 2½-3hrs, or until the meat is really tender.
To make the dumplings: Tip the flour and some seasoning into a bowl and stir in the suet. Add enough water to give a dropping consistency and form into balls. Add to the stew about 30 mins before the end of cooking. For slightly crispy dumplings, remove the lid when you return the dish to the oven; for soft, fluffy dumplings, keep the dish covered while cooking.
To freeze: The stew may be frozen for up to 3 months; allow to defrost before reheating, and add a little water or stock if it’s too thick. The dumplings are not suitable for freezing.
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As a variation for the dumplings, try adding 1-2tbsps horseradish sauce to the mixture.