I am surprised I have lasted this long, with the vegebox was stuffed with root vegetables and the weather below freezing . My body was crying out for stodge and most specifically stew.
In Nottingham Market, this weekend we picked up some beef shin, and then we went to the cinema and at this point I totally lost my appetite . We saw The Road an amazing film, but given the themes of canabalism the big red joint of meat didn’t look so appealing and I opted for stir fry for dinner.
I was still feeling a bit squeamish the next day and so I turned to my lovely sous chef for preparation.While I am pretty slapdash in my cookery , if Nick is cooking everything has to be peeled & trimmed properly , the vegetables get cut into perfect cubes and most timeconsuming of all- he cleans while he goes. It means food can take a while to make it to the oven but unlike some of my dishes they don’thave grit in them and the kitchen doesn’t look like a toddler Gordon Ramsay has had a tantrum in it .
Stew is a dish you wait for and I settled down with a good book enjoying the delicious smells wafting through the house. Breaking into the kitchen only to throw a carrot cake into the oven to accompany the bubbling caramlised stew and ridding us of more root veg.
Eventually feeling annoyed at myself for not contributing and to give myself the right to blog this increasingly delicious looking dish I decided to add some dumplings for the final 30 minutes of cooking , using the vege-suet leftover from mincemeat making at Christmas.
On serving the stew consisted of meltingly soft meat & sweet root vegetables perfectly soft but still dinstinguisable in thick gravy scented with herbs and a bite of black pepper. The dumplings were perfectly risen, puffy absorbent pillows of startchiness soft with gravy. Stew is morish a meal you have to stop yourselt eating before your stomach explodes especially because it will only improve with age.
Beef Stew and Dumplings
Makes enough for four
500g shin of beef trimmed &cut into 2cm chunks
3 carrots peeled and but into 1 cm disks
2 large parsnips peels and cut 1.5 cm cubes
1 medium sized swede peeled & cut into 1.5 cm cubes
1 large onion roughly chopped
5 cloves of Garlic peeled and left whole
10 sprigs of thyme strip the leaves from the stalk
10 tbsps of flour seasoned with salt and pepper
Sunflower oil to fry the beef
1/2 cup of red wine or beer
1 litre of vegetable or beef stock
100g of self raising flour
50g of vegetable/beef suet
1 tsp of horseradish
1 few spring of fresh thyme
50ml of water
Salt and Pepper
- Roll the diced beef in the seasoned flour to coat
- The fry in batches to brown in a pan with sunflower oil
- Deglaze the pan with the red wine/beer and place in large lidded casserole dish
- Add vegetables to the beef and pour over the stock bring to a gentle simmer , add the thyme
- Cover the casserole and place in the oven at 150degC for 2.5hours
- For the last 30 minutes of cooking remove the lid , mix togther the dumpling ingredients, form using your hands into golf ball sized balls and drop on top of the stew . This should make 8, make sure there is a little room between the dumplings and they will spread a little when cooking .
- Return to the oven for the final 30 minutes of cooking until the dumplings have begun to brown