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Beef Stew with Dumplings

Introduction & method

Plain, simple, delicious and warming, British beef stew with fluffy suet dumplings will warm your heart on a cold winter's night. 

Beef Stew with Dumplings Recipe

Prep the Meat

Shin of beef is the best for this hearty stew - it's marbled with connective tissue (collagen) that dissolves during long cooking and gives unctuousness. If you can't find shin, stewing beef/braising steak etc will be OK. Remove any lumps of fat and silverskin and cut the meat into bite-size chunks. Toss them in a bit of flour to get them coated all over.

Start the Stew

Peel and finely dice the onion, half a carrot and half a stick of celery. Melt some beef dripping in a frying pan on low heat. Add the veg and sweat them for 5-10 minutes - you want to soften them without browning them. Pop them into the vessel you'll be cooking the stew in. Add more fat to the frying pan, turn up the heat to medium and add some of the meat - you'll probably need to do this in batches because you don't want to overcrowd the pan. Cook the meat until it is brown and a bit crunchy on the outside. When a batch is ready, transfer it to the pot. Pour in the stock and bring it to the boil.
When all the beef is cooked, deglaze the frying pan using the beer (brandy or red wine could be used instead - water also works), and add the liquid and burnt crunchy bits to the stew.

Reduce the heat so the liquid is just simmering, put a lid on the pot and let it cook for two and a half hours, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking. If you have a pressure cooker, cook it for 30 minutes. Alternatively you could use a slow cooker/crockpot and cook it for 7-8 hours.

Peel any veg you are using, cut them into bite-sized chunks and add them to the stew. Continue cooking for 20 minutes. The reason we add the veg near the end is so that they are well-cooked but not turning to mush.

For the dumplings:

While the stew is cooking, make up the batter for the dumplings by mixing all the dry ingredients and then gradually adding water until you have a stiff paste. 

Take a tablespoon of the dumpling batter, and gently place it on top of the stew. Keep doing this until all the batter is used up, and make sure you leave plenty of space between each one because they will expand. You can spoon a little of the stew over each dumpling to give them a bit of colour. At this point, you can either continue cooking on the hob with a lid on the pan, or, if you like your dumplings crispy on top, place the stew into a hot oven, uncovered.

Either way, after about 25 minutes, the dumplings will be cooked, and everything ready to eat.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Beef Stew with Dumplings on YouTube.

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Ingredients & Info

 500 grams shin of beef or stewing steak
 1 medium onion
 1 carrot
 half a stick celery
 1 litre beef stock
 280 ml beer/ale
 2 bay leaves
 1 tsp ground black pepper
 1 tsp parsley
 1 tbsp salt
 100 grams plain white flour
 50 grams suet
 1 tsp salt
 1 tsp baking powder
 1 tsp chives
 7 tbsp water


A little flour for dusting the meat, and some dripping, lard or oil for sautéeing.

US Customary/Imperial

Serves 6 
Prep time: 30 minutes.
Cooking time: 3 hours.
Total time: 3 hours 30 mins.