Monday, March 2, 2009

Beef & Ale Stew with dumplings

I have tried making stew a few times and always ended up disappointed, until now! I'm not sure why they didn't turn out well in the past but 'hello!' I'm not letting this recipe go!

Funnily enough I found it in my cooking bible "Good Housekeeping Cookery Book". Well I didn't follow the entire recipe and instruction to the 'tee' but pretty close.

You'll have to try this hearty dish for yourself to find out how satisfying it really is, trust me!

(Serves 4-6 people)
800g stewing beef
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tbsp oil
1 1/2 cup bacon lardons or pancetta
1 large onion (chopped)
2 stalks celery (chopped)
1 large carrot (halved and sliced)
4 cloves garlic (crushed)
3 cups whole baby button mushrooms
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp flour
2 cup ale
1 cup beef stock
2 tbsp wine vinegar
Bouquet garni
1 tbsp steak seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

DUMPLINGS (courtesy of
1 cup flour, well sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening (or butter)
1/2 cup milk

- Have the beef cut into large bit size pieces. Cover beef pieces with steak seasoning and 1 tbsp of flour. Melt butter with oil in a frying pan and brown the meat on high heat (do not cook beef through). Transfer beef to a bowl, including all the juices, and set aside
- Turn heat down to medium-high and add the bacon (or pancetta) and cook for about 1 min then add onion, carrot and the celery. Cook until all begins to soften. Now add the garlic and sugar. Cook all together for a further 10min, until they begin to brown and caramelize a bit. Stir in the remaining flour and stir
- Transfer onion mixture and beef to a large stew pot. Heat together for a few minutes then gradually add the ale while continuing to stir. Bring to a boil, scraping up sediments from the bottom of the pot if any
- Add the stock, vinegar, bouquet garni and salt & pepper to taste (salt may not be needed since bacon is already quite salty). Bring down to a simmer, cover tightly and cook on low for 2 hours. Add mushrooms then cover and simmer still for another 30 min

- In the mean time prepare dumpling batter....
- Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture is of corn meal consistency. Add milk and mix lightly until soft dough is formed

- Drop in tbsp amounts of dumpling dough (you should get about 10-12 dumplings). Cover again and simmer for another 30min. Add more liquid if necessary

Serve and enjoy! Oh and don't feel you need to eat it all in one go. It tastes even better the next day! :)

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