This delicious beef stew couldn’t be simpler – just make it in one pot, pop it in the oven and serve it up a few hours later with dumplings.
- 2kg stewing steak, such as beef shin or neck, diced
- 100g plain flour
- Salt and pepper
- 30g beef dripping or lard, melted
- 675g potatoes, quartered
- 225g onions, sliced
- 1 litre beef stock
- For the dumplings:
- 300g suet
- 700g self-raising flour
- 300ml warm water
Heat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5. Trim any excess fat from the diced meat. Take a large plastic bag and put the flour in it, seasoning the flour well. Drop the meat in the bag and shake it like mad to coat all the meat in the seasoned four.
Melt the dripping or lard in a casserole. Add the meat and onions and fry well, stirring all the time. Add the potatoes and stir.
Pour in the stock (or even water) and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to take up the flour and all the flavour. Cover with a lid or foil.
Put the stew in the oven, reduce the heat to 140°C/gas mark 1 and leave it there for 3 hrs.
To make the dumplings, mix the suet, flour and some salt in a big bowl and stir in the warm water (this will make a heavy mixture). Roll the dumplings into balls about the size of golf balls.
Take about 100ml of gravy from the stew and put it in a saucepan with 500ml water. Bring to the boil. You will need to cook the dumplings in batches – so drop half of them in the pan and cook for 10 minutes, turning so they cook evenly and puff up. Lift the dumplings out of the broth and keep warm while you cook the remainder.
Either serve the dumplings in a bowl separately from the stew, or gently stir them into the stew before serving (John Torode’s favourite way!).
John advises sealing the meat well as it helps the flavour. Use a cut with real flavour like shin or neck, but let it cook slowly and for a long time.