This classic stew is the ideal meal for after a frosty winter walk
750g beef stewing steak, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tbsp plain flour
Salt and pepper
6 shallots, peeled and halved lengthways
2 sticks of celery, roughly cut into large chunks
3 carrots, peeled, trimmed and roughly cut into large chunks
200g swede, peeled and roughly cut into large chunks
2 large cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp tomato paste
Good splash of Worcestershire sauce
400ml beef stock
2 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
For the dumplings
125g plain flour
1 tbsp each of chopped parsley and chives
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp mustard powder
Pinch of salt
Water to bind together
Preheat your oven to 170˚C/150˚C fan-assisted/gas mark 3. Coat the beef in the flour. Season with salt and pepper. Heat some oil in a large flameproof casserole (or you may want to use a slow cooker), add the beef in batches and brown all over. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the shallots, celery, carrots, swede and garlic to the pan. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, beef stock, stout, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to the boil for five minutes. Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven for two hours.
To make the dumplings, sift the flour, baking powder, mustard powder and salt into a bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour with your fingers until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the herbs and stir to mix. Pour in enough water to form a soft but not too sticky dough. Roll into balls with floured hands.
Remove the stew from the oven and carefully take off the lid. Increase the temperature to 200˚C/180˚C fan-assisted/gas 6. Arrange the dumplings on top of the stew and return to the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the dumplings are golden and cooked through.
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