1 October 2012

* Beef Stew with Crusted Mustard Dumplings

Beef Stew and Dumplings
This is a family favourite and has been for years. Whenever I deviate from this particular recipe... for example - leave out the dumplings... it takes them a week to get over it. My men are creatures of habit and to present them with a dumplingless stew is sacrilege and SOOOOO not worth the ensuing arguments.


We argue over lack of dumplings.

From my perspective - I like to try something different occasionally. After all, I'm the one that's cooking it. From their perspective - they like what they like what they like (rolls eyes) and they don't like to try new stuff because they get very frightened that I'm suddenly going to get my nipples pierced, take up belly dancing and run off with the postman to Outer Mongolia... or Devon.

What they have yet to suss out, is that they are often presented with a Dumplingless Beef Stew and told that it is casserole.

Apparently casserole isn't sacred... and I'm living with idiots.

Which is fun.

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Serves 3

NOTE: Yet again I have cooked this in my fan oven, so for conventional ovens you need to double the time and reduce the liquid content.

Prep time - 15 minutes
Cooking time -2hrs 20mins - 2hrs 30mins (fan oven)

You will need
A large flameproof casserole dish with lid

3 large carrots - peeled and cut into chunks
4 sticks celery - cut into chunks
1 swede (rutabaga) - peeled and cut into chunks
1 onion - peeled and cut into wedges
1 tsp dried thyme
30g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
500g stewing beef (shin or skirt) - cut into 2cm pieces
2 pts beef stock (from a cube is fine)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

For the dumplings
120g self raising flour
60g shredded vegetable suet
1 tsp English Mustard
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives

Preheat the oven to 180c/150cfan/350f/gas4

Place all of the vegetables into the casserole dish and sprinkle with the thyme. In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt and some freshly ground pepper and coat each piece of meat in the seasoned flour. Add the meat to the casserole dish then tip any excess flour in and stir to coat vegetables - there won't be much, maybe a teaspoon or two.

Add as much of the stock as you can get into the casserole - it may seem excessive, but in a fan oven it evaporates at a rate of knots. Add the Worcestershire sauce and place the flameproof casserole on the hob, bring to a gentle simmer then cover and place in the oven.

Check after 1 hour, using up the rest of the stock if you had any left over and giving it a stir. Return to the oven (with the lid on) and after one more hour, remove from the oven and turn the heat up to 200c/170cfan/390f/gas5.

Make the dumplings by combining all of the ingredients in a bowl and adding water a couple of tbsps at a time, using a knife to combine it all, until you have a sticky dough like consistency that will drop off of a spoon if you have the patience to hold it up long enough!

Remove the lid from the stew and give it a good stir - ensure there's still plenty of liquid as the next stage cooks it down. If you think you'd like a wetter stew than you have, now is the last time to add more beef stock. Spoon out 6 dumplings onto the top of the stew, place back in the oven for 10 minutes (lidless) or until the tops are crispy and a skewer comes out clean when passed through the middle of a dumpling.



  1. I'm making a boeuf bourguignon tonight :33333 Seems like an eternity I haven't made anything hot to eat. Oh wait, I live in hell (reads south, very hot place in summer) :P Yay for fall!

    1. I'll have to put that one on my *to cook* list - haven't made it in ages either. Though we have had the weather for it :o(


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