Monday, 1 October 2012

Beef & Guinness Stew with Dumplings

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I'm really not quite ready for autumn & winter to rear their ugly heads. I'm sure like most of you (UK based anyway) feel somewhat cheated out of the summer we've just had. But the one thing that always gets me excited about a cold dark evening is the promise of a comforting stew with dumplings. When I first starting cooking, stews were definitely my favourite things to make, they're easy to prepare and as long as you cook them for long enough they always come out great. This was the first time I've done a stew using Guinness but I know this will be my go to meal this winter. This stew would also be fantastic in pie form which I think I'll have to try out next time. They always say stews are better the next day so it would be worth making the stew and chilling it over night before placing it in a buttery puff pastry case the next day and baking it.... I think thats Sunday dinner next week sorted!

Serves 4
You will need-
  • 1kg stewing beef cut into 2cm cubes
  • 4 carrots peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2 parsnips prepared the same as the carrots
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • 1tbsp flour
  • 500ml Guinness
  • Good quality beef stock cube
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Big sprig of thyme
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Salt & Pepper
For the dumplings
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 50g vegetable suet
  • Pinch of salt
  • Approx 5tbsp cold water
Begin by browning the beef in small batches in a casserole dish on the hob. While its browning pre-heat your oven to 140C. Once all the beef is browned add the vegetables and brown in the meat juices for a few minutes. Next add the flour and mix well before adding the beef and any juices followed by the stock cube, Guinness, bay leaves, thyme & sugar. Season well and the put the lid on the dish and place into the oven. Set the timer for 2 1/2 hours and then sit back and relax. 20 or so minutes before the stew is ready make the dumplings by mixing together the flour, suet and salt and then add cold water a tablespoon at a time till you get a soft dough. Roll the dough into balls and place on top of the stew. Place the lid back on and cook for 20 minutes.
I have to apologise for the quality of the photos, the light had faded and I was too hungry to wait any longer before eating. But as you can see, after all that stewing the meat was falling apart and the vegetables were covered in a glossy, sticky sauce. It was pure heaven and we fought over the last dumpling!

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