Beef stew with dumplings

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Soups & stews

Beef stew with dumplings

Main Serves 6 3h
If dumplings aren't your thing, this stew works equally well with a rough-puff pastry crust or crusty bread.


for the stew

  • 600g diced beef
  • 3 tbsp seasoned plain flour
  • 50g butter or beef dripping
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 200g unsmoked bacon, cut into lardons
  • 250ml beef or chicken stock
  • 250ml stout
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • few thyme springs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 2 carrots, cut into chunks
  • ½ large celeriac or 2 small turnips, cut into chunks
  • 300g chestnut mushrooms, halved

for the dumplings

  • 100g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 50g beef suet
  • small bunch chives and parsley, finely chopped


Prep time: 30 min
Cooking time: 2h 30 min

To make the stew

  • Step 1

    Toss the beef with the seasoned flour to coat. Heat a heavy-bottomed casserole or pan on a medium flame and add the fat. Brown the meat in batches, adding more fat if necessary (be careful not to overcrowd the pan, or the meat will boil in its own juices) then transfer to a bowl. Scrape the bottom of the pan regularly to prevent burning.
  • Step 2

    Once all the meat is browned, add some more fat to the pan and cook the onions until soft, add the bacon and cook until the onions begin to brown.
  • Step 3

    Return the beef and then pour in a little stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze it. Add the rest of the stock, beer, tomato purée and herbs. Bring to the boil, partially cover, turn down the heat, and simmer very gently (ie. just the odd bubble rising to the surface) for an hour.
  • Step 4

    Add the carrots, turnips/celeriac and mushrooms and simmer for about another hour, until the meat is tender enough to cut with a spoon. Leave to cool, overnight if possible, then discard the solidified fat from the top and bring the dish to a simmer.
  • Step 5


make the dumplings

  • Step 1

    by sifting the flour into a bowl and adding the rest of the ingredients and just enough cold water to bring it together into a dough. Roll it into 12 small dumplings.
  • Step 2

    If you don't like stodgy dumplings, bake them in a hot oven for 5 minutes before adding to the stew. If you are more of a traditionalist, add them straight to the stew. Partially cover and simmer for 25 minutes, then check the seasoning of the gravy, and serve the lot with steamed greens or purple sprouting broccoli.

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