Wonderful recipe for rich meaty Beef and Guinness Stew with lightly herbed Dumplings
For the stew:
800g stewing beef, cut in blocks
olive oil, for frying
2 brown or white onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 heaped tbs cake flour
1 tsp tomato paste
300ml Guinness beer
1 bay leaf
1 beef stock cube
generous pinch of black pepper
6 sprigs fresh thyme
250g carrots, peeled and cubed or left whole if they’re small
For the dumplings:
125g self-raising flour
50g butter (I prefer 25g lard and 25g butter)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
2 tbs parsley, chopped
3-4 tbs water
Brown the meat in batches in 3 tbs olive oil. (Don’t add the lot at once as it will stew instead of brown.) Remove meat and set aside.
Add the chopped onions to the same pan along with another tablespoon of oil if needed and fry gently over low heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for a minute. Stir in the flour and fry for 20 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste and fry for a further 20 seconds.
Return the meat to the pan along with any resting juices. Add the water and the Guinness and stir to lift all the caramelised bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the rest of the stew ingredients, cover and cook over low heat until the meat is super tender – 90 t0 120 minutes depending on the cut.
Once the meat is done, the dumplings can go in the pot. To make the dumplings, place the flour, salt and butter in a food processor and blitz until the mixture resembles crumbs. Add the herbs and 3-4 tbs water and pulse until a firm dough ball forms (it only takes a few seconds). You can do all this by hand if you do not have a food processor.
Divide the dough into 8 equal-sized pieces and roll into balls. (Dust your hands with some flour to prevent the dough sticking.) Place the dumplings on top of the stew, cover and cook over medium heat for 25-30 minutes. Serve immediately with some lovely green peas.