Perfect for a chilly day, this beef stew with dumplings recipe is a comforting dish from Dominic Chapman. The kids can get involved with making the dumplings for this delicious dish.
Begin by cutting the braising beef into big pieces. It is important that you do not cut the pieces too small – the meat is going to be braised until tender, and smaller pieces may break up.
Heat a dash of vegetable oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Cook the meat and pancetta in the pan until browned. Pour in the vinegar and stir well for 1-2 minutes. Take the pan off the heat.
Place a knob of butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the leek, celery and carrots once the butter has melted. Cook until the vegetables are golden brown and soft. Take the pan off the heat.
Repeat the process in a separate pan with the sliced onion, star anise and butter. In another pan, cook the mushrooms in the same way along with a knob of butter. You’ll end up using a lot of pans, so you may have to rope the little ones in when it comes to washing up!
Preheat the oven to gas 8, 220°C, fan 200°C.
Cut the tomato in half and place in a bowl with the caster sugar. Toss to coat the tomatoes and then arrange them cut-side down on a baking tray. Drizzle some olive oil over the top.
Place the tomatoes in the oven and cook until caramelised and tender – this takes around 20 minutes.
Place the caramelised vegetables, the meat, pancetta and tomatoes in a flameproof casserole dish. Add the bouquet garni and pour in enough stock to cover the ingredients. Leave to simmer for 2 1/2 hours.
Strain the sauce into a separate pan once the meat has become tender. Place the sauce back on the hob and continue simmering until it reduces and has a thin, gravy-like consistency.
Place the solids back in the pan of sauce and take the pan off the heat.
Add a knob of butter to a frying pan over a medium heat. Cook the baby onions (or shallots) until they become brown. Take them out and leave aside.
Heat another knob of butter in the same pan. Fry the button mushrooms until browned, and then mix the baby onions and mushrooms into the beef stew.
Begin making the dumplings by mixing the plain flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Place the suet in the bowl and add enough water to bind the mixture.
Get your little ones to roll the dough between their hands to form small dumplings – they should be around the size of cherry tomatoes. You should end up with 16 dumplings.
Heat lightly salted water in a large pan. Once it is simmering, add the dumplings and place a lid on the pan. Poach the dumplings for 15-20 minutes.
Place the stew back on the stove and reheat.
To serve, divide the stew between bowls. Top with the chopped parsley and dumplings.
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For top tips on protecting you and your family when preparing raw meat and poultry, visit Food Safety in the Home.