Sunday, 19 October 2014

Hearty Beef Stew with Dumplings

Beef stew has to be a classic dish across Europe in one form or another. Be it Boeuf Bourgignon or the Romanian Tocata de Vita, it’s one of our favourites, and as it’s so easy to make with virtually anything you have to hand, can be a staple throughout the colder months. I find it especially useful when trying to use up those leftover veggies hanging around at the back of the fridge!

I already have a Beef in Beer / Guinness recipe on the blog, and a child-friendly beef stew version using the sweeter vegetables, such as carrots, and fruit, but this on is a heartier recipe, particularly when served with dumplings.

Feel free to use whatever needs using up: This week, I had two Gem Squashes (a real pain in the neck to peel, for future reference) and a delicious portion of braising beef. I always use the slow cooker as I can brown everything the night before, then simply turn on in the morning. I also always place the cooker on the ceramic hob (turned off, obviously!)…just in case.


Cheat: buy ready chopped beef and veg and use premade stock.

Ingredients: onions, squash, carrots, beef, red wine, stock, marmite, redcurrant jelly.


Begin by frying off the chopped onions, then as they’re beginning to soften, add the rest of your vegetables, chopped into good sized chunks. Squash and purple carrots went into our pot.

Once beginning to colour, remove. Add a little more oil and pop the chopped beef in with a large handful of plain flour. Fry off until browned and remove from the pan.

Pour a large glass of red wine into the pan to deglaze and bubble until reduced by half. When done, add beef stock and a dollop of both marmite and redcurrant jelly. Season.

Throw everything into the slow cooker, leave over night for the flavours to infuse, then turn onto low in the morning. You could also put this into the oven at about 120 for 6/7 hours. Well, until the beef is falling apart.

About an hour from the end of cooking, check the thickness…if you need to add another handful of flour to thicken, mix some in a little pot first with a ladle of the beef sauce before adding to the stew itself. Then leave the lid off on high for half an hour.

Make up some quick and easy Jamie Dumplings – 250g self raising flour, pinch of salt, 125g unsalted butter and 100ml cold water. I always add chopped parsley and rosemary. Bring ingredients together until they form a ball then split into smaller balls. Don’t overwork the mixture or they’ll end up stodgy. Sit them on top of the stew, pop the lid back on and leave until fluffy.

Serve with stir-fried green veg for a splash of colour.

Once you’ve done the prep. for this meal, it cooks itself.


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Would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!
Merlotti x

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