There is something very special about a beef stew and dumpling meal. I'm not too sure what that is, mind you, I think it's real comfort food, and there is nothing better on a cold day. The secret to any stew is slow cooking; the slower, the better. Generally speaking, the cheaper the cut of meat, the longer it will take to cook, but you will end up with a far tastier dish than just a plain steak, so go on try it!
- 300 g 2cm cubed chuck steak
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 0.5 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and roughly cubed
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
- 1.5 beef stock cubes, crumbled
- 1 boiling water, roughly
- 3 tbsp Worcester sauce
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Dumplings
- 225 g self raising flour
- 115 g beef or vegetable suet
- 2 pinch salt
- 1 medium egg
- 4 tbsp parsley
- 2 tbsp grated horseradish
- a little cold water
- Preheat the oven to 160C, Gas 3.
- Using kitchen paper, pat the meat dry, then heat 1tbsp of oil in a deep casserole dish or ovenproof pan.
- Next, add half the meat and cook until nicely browned all over. Repeat the process with 1 tbsp of the vegetable oil and diced chuck steak.
- Sprinkle on the flour and stir in well. Let the flour catch slightly; this helps to give the stew a nice colour and flavour.
- Then add the tomato puree, stock cube, Worcester sauce, water, thyme and sugar.
- Heat the other 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan and add the onion, carrot and garlic and cook gently until softened and golden brown.
- Tip the onion mixture into the casserole dish with the beef and stir together.
- Season well with salt and pepper and bring to a gentle simmer, cover with a tight-fitting lid and
- Place in the preheated oven and cook for 1½ hours, nice and gently.
- To test if the meat is perfectly cooked, juicy and tender, gently squeeze it will fall apart, do not overcook it, or the meat will dry out and become stringy.
- Remove the stew from the oven.
- Make the dumplings by placing the flour, salt, suet, parsley, horseradish and egg into a bowl.
- Mix well and add enough cold water to form a soft dough; the mixture must be soft but not sloppy.
- Break off 6 walnut-sized pieces and place them on top of the stew.
- Return to the oven uncovered and cook for a further 35 minutes, or until the dumplings are nicely browned and crunchy.
- Serve piping hot with mashed potatoes and honey roast parsnips.
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