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Best Stew Ever (Beef and Dumplings)

Introduction & method

Rich, thick and hearty, this beef stew will warm you up on those cold winter nights - it's proper comfort food.

Best Stew Ever (Beef and Dumplings) Recipe

Cook the Beef

Cut your beef into bite-sized chunks - keep the fat on. Mix 2 tbsps flour with a quarter tsp of salt and half a tsp black pepper and toss the beef cubes in it - get them coated all over. Melt some beef dripping in a heavy-bottomed pan over high heat. When it's smoking, add the beef. make sure you shake off any excess flour, and do the beef in batches so you don't overcrowd the pan. When the beef chunks are browned all over, remove from the pan and set aside. While the beef is browning, chop the onion, celery and carrot very finely. After all the beef is browned, turn down the heat and add the veg to the pan - coat them all in fat (add more fat if needed) and cook gently for 5-10 minutes with a lid on.

Cook the Stew

Add the beef stock, the wine and the beef. You have three options for cooking the beef now. You can do it in a pressure cooker which will take 20-30 minutes. Or you could do it in a slow cooker/crockpot in 6-8 hours. Or you can continue with the stovetop and that will take 3½ hours in total. So put a lid on, turn the heat down as low as it will go and let it cook for two hours, stirring occasionally to stop it sticking. Now add extra vegetables - bite-sized chunks of carrot and potatoes, turnip or swede if you like it, sliced leek and whole cleaned mushrooms. You should also taste it now and add salt and pepper if required. Simmer with the lid on for a further 90 minutes.


About 30 minutes befor the end make up the batter for the dumplings. This is simply flour, suet and chopped parsley mixed together and formed into a dough with just enough cold water. Divide the dough into 4-6 equal pieces, form them into balls and put them on top of the stew - space them out because they will expand. Cook them for 25 minutes with the lid on. Alternatively, if you like crunchy dumplings, you can put the stew under the grill (broiler) with the lid off for the last 10-15 minutes.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Best Stew Ever (Beef and Dumplings) on YouTube.

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Ingredients & Info

 500 grams beef - skirt, chuck or braising steak
 1 litre beef stock
 half a bottle red wine
 1 medium onion
 2 medium carrots
 1 stick celery
 6 baby potatoes
 6 chestnut mushrooms
 1 medium leek
 small handful flatleaf parsley
 50 grams lard, beef tallow or oil
 to taste salt and pepper
 100 grams self-raising flour
 50 grams suet
 half a tsp salt
 3-4 tbsp cold water

US Customary/Imperial

Serves 6 
Prep time: 10 minutes.
Cooking time: 3½ hours.
Total time: 3 hours 40 minutes.