I thought I would share my favorite winter warmer, beef stew and dumplings, just like my mum used to cook. Very little preparation required and with slow oven cooking, you can leave it to create its own wonderful gravy and tender meat. Personally I like buttered French stick to mop up all those tasty juices, but you can always substitute for mash or boiled potatoes.
1 lb braising steak, cut into chunks
One large onion
One large leek
Two medium carrots
1 pint of beef stock
1/2 pint of beer/real ale
A good splash of Worcestershire sauce.
1 teaspoon French mustard
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of flour
Half a small swede
1 sprig of thyme
1 sprig of rosemary
50g shredded suet
Preheat the oven to 140 degrees Celsius.
Brown the cubed steak in a frying pan having coated first in seasoned flour.
Transfer to a casserole dish.
Peel the onion, carrots and swede.
Chop the onion, carrots, swede and leek into chunks and add to the casserole dish, mixing everything thoroughly.
Add the beef stock and beer and pour over the casserole.
Add the Worcestershire sauce and mustard
Add a good twist of black pepper and a teaspoon of salt.
Add the sugar
Add the rosemary & thyme
Pop the lid on and place in the oven for two hours.
When the first two hours are up, increase the oven temperature to 160 degrees Celsius. Take the casserole out of the oven and stir it before returning it to the oven and cook for a further hour
with only half an hour to go, make up the dumplings.
Put the shredded suet in a bowl and add a small amount of water, working the suet together until it forms a solid lump. I like a teaspoon of mixed herbs in mine, but leave that out if you prefer.
Divide it into small balls and pop them on top of the casserole. Cook for a further half an hour or until the dumplings are done.
Serve in warmed dishes, ideally with crusty buttered bread for an easy one dish dinner.