We’ve had some beautiful days this week, with clear, bright blue skies and sunshine, the kind you often get on cold, cold days, as these have been. The last few mornings have seen frost; pretty on grass while a nuisance on cars that need driving.
With the frost and the cold comes the winter cooking, and when I saw this fabulous stewing steak in the window of my local butcher today I knew a rich stew was in order, and it absolutely had to have dumplings in it. I love dumplings but Rob doesn’t like them so I don’t make them very often. The last time I made a stew I decided to be self-indulgent and make myself some, but my suet was out of date (see, it had been that long), so I missed out. Thankfully my butcher, bless him, stocks packets of suet so today I was able to buy some with the beef. Tonight I would have my dumplings.
Beef and Red Wine Stew with Dumplings
500g good stewing steak, cut into chunks
250g baby carrots
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Half a bottle of good red wine
1 bay leaf
A few sprigs of thyme
Salt and black pepper
For the dumplings
50g self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
A little water for binding
1. Brown the beef well in a casserole dish over a high heat with a little olive oil.
2. Remove the beef from the dish then fry the onion for a few minutes, adding a little more olive oil if required, until it just starts to take on a little colour.
3. Add the garlic, then the carrots, wine and herbs. Season well.
4. Bring the stew up to the boil then turn it down to the lowest setting so it is barely simmering. Put on a lid and cook for 2 hours.
5. To make the dumplings mix the flour, salt and suet with a little water to form a dough, then form 4 round balls for the dumplings. 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time place them on top of the stew and put the lid back on.
6. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs before serving.
This recipe serves 2 but can easily be doubled.