Not only is this dish simple to assemble, it ticks every box for a sour, dull, dank, rainy day in need of serious cheering up on the food front! I made it yesterday for a late lunch. Cooked for 4 of us and there is still a bowl left over for a late night something later on!
1 kg beef cubed – chuck steak is great – skirt too – just ask your butcher
8 tulip shallots peeled and roughly chopped (or you could use 3 medium sized onions)
1 tbsp plain flour
900 ml good beef stock
200 ml beer – I used Guinness
Heaped tsp of dried thyme or good sprig of the fresh stuff
2 bay leaves
1 large clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp of tomato puree
Salt and black pepper
Heat oven to 140c,
Add a good glug of oil to a large frying pan and when hot add the beef. Stir round til browned all over. Remove and place in a large casserole dish – one with a lid. Add the onions to the frying pan and fry until the onions soften. Add them to the beef and then add the flour. Put over a low heat whilst you stir in the flour.
Add the thyme, bay leaves, garlic and a swizzle of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Add the stock and beer, stir and add the tomato puree – you can use a good brand tomato sauce instead if you wish.
Once it is starting to simmer – put the lid on and pop in the preheated oven for 2 hours and ten minutes.
Now make the dumplings –
You will need 100 gm of self-raising flour and 50 gm of suet – I use Atora – love the funky 60s retro box!
Mix the flour and suet together in a bowl, add a good pinch of salt and then around 5 table spoons of cold water. Mix it together until you get a good consistency and no flour is left in the bowl. Wash your hands and then make 8 golf ball size dumplings.
Put to one side. When the timer goes for the beef, remove the lid and gently place in the dumplings – well spaced out – pop lid back on and return to the oven for twenty minutes.
I served the casserole with sweet mashed potato, buttered with a little cumin. I also had steamed kale and new potatoes in butter and coriander. It was a marvellous combination of flavours.
As with so many recipes this is one you can tinker with to your heart’s desire – you could use half beer half stock – even all beer if you wished! You could add a little pureed spinach to your dumpling mix – the possibilities are endless.