Now the clocks have gone back and the nights are closing in, we begin thinking of comfort food. Warm, filling and full of memories of childhood, of home and all those good things that get us through the cold weather months. One of my favourites is this beef stew recipe with dumplings.
Made with braising steak and cooked long and slow, this is the ideal meal to greet you when you get home.
1.2kg braising steak
80g of pancetta, chopped
40ml of red wine vinegar
5 knobs of unsalted butter
1 leek, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
2 celery sticks, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1 star anise
50g of large mushrooms, sliced
5g of bouquet garni
2 litres of chicken stock
160g of baby onions, peeled
160g of button mushrooms
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp olive oil
100g of plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 pinches of salt
40g of light suet
Cut the braising steak into decent sized pieces and add it with the pancetta and a bit of oil to a hot pan. Brown the steak off then add the vinegar. Cook for 2 minutes over a medium heat while stirring.
Add a knob of butter to a new pan and then add the leeks, celery and carrots and cook until golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside. Do the same with the sliced onion, star anise and another knob of butter. Repeat with another knob of butter and the large mushrooms.
Preheat the oven to 220˚C/gas mark 8.
Add all of the cooked ingredients into a casserole dish along with the bouquet garni. Cover with the stock and cook for 2 ½ hours.
Once cooked, strain the juice from the casserole dish into a pan and simmer it until reduced to a gravy. Add all the other ingredients to the pan and allow to cool.
Fry the baby onions in a knob of butter and then set aside. Do the same for the button mushrooms and then add both the mushrooms and baby onions into the stew.
Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, suet and enough water to make dumplings into a bowl. Roll them into dumpling shapes. You should get 15 or so out of this mix.
Boil in salted water for 15 – 20 minutes, until cooked.
Reheat the stew and serve with the dumplings.