Braised Beef with Irish Stout and Parsley Dumplings

This is comfort food at its best. What could be nicer than a plate of steaming beef stew on a cold winter’s day?

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 ¾ lbs chuck beef steak, trimmed and cut into 2in cubes
    • 3 medium onions, thinly sliced
    • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
    • 2 tbsp plain flour
    • 16 oz can Guinness or other Irish stout
    • 10 oz beef stock
    • 4 carrots, sliced on the diagonal
    • 1 tsp light brown sugar
    • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar PARSLEY DUMPLINGS:
    • ¾ cup all purpose flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
    • 2 tbsp snipped fresh chives
    • 1/3 cup beef shredded suet or lard
    • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

Method:

    1. Preheat the oven to 320°F. Heat a heavy-based Dutch oven or pot on the stove. Add one tablespoon of the oil and as soon as it starts smoking, season beef with salt and pepper and add to the hot pan.
    2. Quickly brown on all sides, transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon. Set aside.
    3. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and then add the onions to and cook for about 5 minutes until lightly golden, stirring occasionally.
    4. Stir in the thyme and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Sprinkle in the flour and continue to cook over a low heat for another minute or so, stirring constantly.
    5. Gradually pour in the Guinness or stout, stirring until smooth after each addition. Pour in the stock, stirring to combine and season lightly, then add the carrots with the sugar and vinegar. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the reserved beef, mixing well to combine.
    6. Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven and cook for 1 hour until the beef is almost tender and the liquid has reduced and slightly thickened.
    7. To make the dumplings, mix the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper with herbs and seasoning in a bowl and then mix in the suet or lard.
    8. Add 6 tablespoons of cold water to make a stiff but elastic dough that leaves the bowl clean. 9. Knead it lightly and shape into 12 dumplings. Remove the stew from the oven and take off the lid. Increase the heat of the oven to 400°F. Pop in the dumplings into the stew and return to the oven for another 30 minutes or until the dumplings are golden brown and crusty. Serve straight to the table.