Recipe: Beef stew with herby dumplings

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By Edward Hayden

Serves 6

Time 3 hour

Easy

You will need

900g/2lb diced stewing beef (shoulder steak or meat between shoulder and rib)

2 sprigs thyme

2 sprigs oregano

3 large carrots, diced

Approx 14-18 button mushrooms, quartered

2 medium sized onions, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

3 sticks of celery, diced

50g/2oz plain flour

1 can chopped tomatoes

2 dsp tomato puree

500ml/16fl oz beef stock

4 tbsp chopped parsley

For the herb dumplings

175g/6oz self raising flour

Pinch salt

½ medium onion, very finely diced

1 dsp freshly chopped parsley

50ml/2floz soured milk

 

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 170˚C/325˚F/Gas mark 3.  Trim any excess fat or sinew off the beef, this will prevent toughening of the casserole.

2. Heat a large heavy based frying pan with a little oil and, in batches, brown off the diced beef. Transfer to a large casserole dish at this stage and add the sprigs of thyme and the oregano.

3. Add in the carrots, mushrooms, onions, diced garlic and celery into the pan and cook these for a couple of minutes until they are all nicely browned off. At this stage sprinkle in the flour and use the flour to coat all of the vegetables and also to dry up any of the juices left behind by the beef.

4. Pour in the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and beef stock at this stage and allow the entire mixture to come to the boil.

5. Pour this over the beef in the casserole dish and cover the casserole. Transfer to the oven for up to 2-2 ½ hours until the meat is nice and tender and then at this stage remove from the oven and sprinkle with some chopped parsley.

 

For the dumplings

1. Mix the flour, salt, finely diced onion and fresh parsley together. Mix well.

Gently stir in the soured milk, do not add all the milk at once because it may not take all of the liquid.

2. The mixture should be similar to a soft dough (like a scone). Knead the dough very gently, just until it comes together and then cut out the dumplings using a cup or a scone cutter or often I find it best to roll them into small balls. They should be no thicker that ¾ inch.

3. It's best to make them about 30 minutes before you need them and hold them in the fridge until required. Sometimes people like to mix in a little cheddar cheese in with the dumplings (no more than 50g).

4. About ½ hour before the stew is ready you need to drop in the dumplings. These cook in the stew and take about 25-30 minutes.

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