Beef Stew and Dumplings

Posted By Stephen

Every now and then I crave dumplings briefly, but never have them and then forget about them again until next time the craving arises. As a child I used to love them and it’s that memory that resurfaces from time to time. During some recent and long overdue kitchen-tidying, Kerri and I discovered a long lost box of shredded suet that we had used to make Christmas pudding last year. There was a recipe for dumplings on the side of the box. What better thing to do with it in the middle of winter than make a lovely stew with dumplings? So that’s what we did.

Kerri was working until 4:30, so I set about making the stew by throwing things into a pot in a semi-organised way. This was a mostly made up recipe but it turned out very well indeed, so am putting it down here for future reference. There is actually quite a low meat-to-vegetables ratio in this and after I’d put everything into the pot I wished I had some more stewing beef to add to it, but it worked out well as it was.

Beef Stew and Dumplings
Serves Four

500g stewing beef, diced
Half a celeriac, diced
Half a swede, diced
About 20 small new potatoes, or fewer larger ones, halved or quartered
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
a dozen small shallots, peeled
Half a bottle red wine
1 litre beef stock
3 or 4 sprigs of thyme
Large sprig of rosemary
Two bay leaves
Flour for dusting
Salt and pepper

Put a large saucepan onto medium heat and add some olive oil or vegetable oil. When it is hot, add the onion. Stir occassionally, letting it soften and go slightly golden but not brown. Add the garlic and bay leaves halfway through this process. While this is going on, season a few tablespoons of flour with salt and pepper and coat the diced beef with it.

When the onion is golden and soft, remove it to a plate. Add some more oil to the saucepan if you need to, turn up the heat and brown the floured beef in two batches, letting it take on some deepish brown colour but not burn. When both batches have been browned, add all the beef and the onions back to the saucepan and turn the heat down. Pour in the wine and allow it to bubble away for a few minutes until the alcohol has evaporated.

Then add the stock, potatoes, celeriac, swede, rosemary and thyme and a generous grind of pepper. Bring to the point of simmering, cover, and leave for about 45 minutes. Then add the shallots, give it a good stir and leave it for another half an hour. Then add the dumplings and cook for a final 20 to 30 minutes before checking that the dumplings are done and serving.

The dumplings were simple to make: mix suet, flour, salt and water. Form into balls. Put into stew to cook. We added herbs to ours and should have added a bit onion too but were in a rush at this stage as we (mostly I) had actually forgotten about the dumplings briefly. We made the balls a little large though and they didn’t turn out as light as they could have, but they were certainly tasty went very well with the rest of the stew. It’s a great pity that they are mostly just fat and carbs or we’d eat them more often.

The stew itself turned out very well as I mentioned earlier. If I had remembered to then I would probably have added some tinned tomatoes, but I am glad that I forgot because their omission allowed a very beefy flavour to come through which was balanced by a slight edge from the swede and celeriac.

Jan 16th, 2010

5 Comments to 'Beef Stew and Dumplings'

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  1. Lizzie said,

    Are the dumplings hiding?

    I recently made dumplings and they were a pure stodge fest. Very comforting though.
    .-= Lizzie´s last blog ..Macaroni Cheese =-.

  2. Pure comfort food…. xxx
    .-= The Curious Cat´s last blog ..The Weekend… =-.

  3. Stephen said,

    Lizzie there’s just one dumpling in that picture – in the middle looking very stodgy! They are indeed very comforting, great mid-winter food. There was another picture of four of them in the saucepan but the picture didn’t look as good.

  4. Dumplings must be one of the highest return on effort ratio dishes in the world – and so endlessly comforting in the dark days of January. Yum!
    .-= Jeanne @ Cooksister!´s last blog ..Moroccan-spiced roasted vegetables =-.

  5. I LOVE dumplings and this has reminded me how long it is since I made a veggie stew and dumplings. One for this weekend and its dreary weather maybe?
    .-= The Ginger Gourmand´s last blog ..Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Hazelnuts =-.

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