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Family Friendly Recipes: How To Make Beef Stew And Dumplings
One of my favourite recipes is for a classic British comfort food - Beef Stew With Dumplings. It's something my grandmother used to make and many families will have their own versions of this recipe. It's very simple to make and what I love about it is that it's one of those dishes you can leave cooking on the stove while you get on with other things.
The quantities given here are enough to feed a hungry family of four, but it's one of those simple, no-nonsense recipes that you can easily adapt to feed forty.
Like the sound of this recipe?
- 1lb diced beef
- 1 cup onions, roughly chopped
- 1.5 cups red wine
- 1.5 pints beef stock
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 cup chopped mushrooms
- 1.5 cups chopped carrots
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 oz all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 oz vegetable suet
- cold water to bind the dough
- Dry the diced beef using kitchen paper
- Pour a drizzle of olive oil into a large, heated sauté pan
- Add the diced beef and onions to the hot oil and stir until the meat has browned and the onions have begun to soften.
- When the meat has browned, season with a little salt and pepper and pour in the red wine.
- Bring to the boil and then add in the pint of beef stock and the Worcestershire sauce along with the mushrooms and carrots
- Bring back to the boil and then reduce the heat so the stew simmers gently.
- Cover with a lid and allow to simmer very gently for 1 hour
- In the meantime, prepare the dumplings by putting the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together with your hands. Add in some water, a drizzle at a time until you are able to form a thick dough.
- You should then knead the dough to smooth it out and then break off small pieces to form little balls. Use flour on your hands to avoid sticking.
- Add the dumplings to the stew and return to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes until the dumplings are ready.
- Serve with your choice of vegetables - mashed potatoes, turnip and cabbage all go well
What is suet?
Suet is a raw beef or mutton fat that is used in a number of classic British recipes including Steak and Kidney Pudding and Beef Stew and Dumplings. It is also used in traditional mincemeat which is used at Christmas time to make mince pies. Suet is an ingredient in many of the steamed Christmas puddings served in households across Britain over the holidays.
I prefer to use a light, vegetable-based suet which is made from rice flour and fat. This is widely available in UK supermarkets, but in some locations, you may have difficulty in getting hold of it. If you cannot find suet, dumplings can be made with shortening, lard or even butter instead. They won't taste quite the same, but will still be good.
- If you don't want to use red wine in the recipe, you could use beer or ale. The alcohol will evaporate during the cooking process. Alternatively, if you live in an alcohol-free household, just use a really rich beef stock and add taste during cooking to see if you need to add more seasoning.
- You can add herbs to the dumplings to give extra flavour. Dried herbs are fine. I like to use a little thyme just to give an added dimension.
- If you don't like mushrooms or carrots, you can leave them out. If you want to add some extra veggies for a heartier stew, diced turnip makes a good addition.
- Instead of using suet in the dumplings, you can use other dense fats - see opposite.