week 1 Meat day 7 Irish stew

Week 1 Meat day 7 Irish stew With a slight twist   #favoriterecipe

this really hits the spot

This recipe showcases British cooking at its best: beautiful beef slow-cooked in beer and topped with light, fluffy dumplings. It’s quite beautiful and just the sort of recipe everyone should have in their repertoire. You could equally use red wine instead of beer if you like, and the dumplings aren’t essential, but I do urge you to give them a try. Serve with buttery carrots and greens or with my Twice-Baked Bubble and Squeak Jacket Potatoes on page 51.


SERVES 4

  • 700g (11⁄2 lb) braising beef, cut into chunks
  • 2 tbsp plain flour, for dusting
  • olive oil, for frying
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices
  • 150g (5oz) pearl onions or baby shallots, peeled and trimmed
  • 4 garlic cloves, bashed
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 500ml (18fl oz) beer or ale
  • 2–3 tsp tomato purée
  • 300ml (1⁄2 pt) beef or chicken stock
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

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FOR THE DUMPLINGS

  • 125g (41⁄2 oz) self-raising flour, plus a little extra for dusting
  • 75g (3oz) suet
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard


❶ Preheat the oven to 150C/Gas 2. Season the beef with salt and pepper, and dust in the flour. Place a large hob-proof casserole dish over a medium heat and add a dash of oil. When hot, brown the beef (in batches if necessary) until coloured on all sides.

❷ Add the carrots, onions, garlic and herbs, stirring over a medium heat for 2–3 minutes.

❸ Pour in the beer to deglaze the pan, scraping up the bits from the bottom. Boil for 2–3 minutes, then stir in the tomato purée. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Mix well, then cover with a lid placing it very slightly askew to allow some steam to escape. Place in the oven for 21⁄2 hours, until the beef is really tender.

❹ Meanwhile, make the dumplings. Place the flour and suet in a bowl, add a pinch of salt and pepper, then the mustard. Mix to combine, then add a touch of warm water and bring it all together to form a thick dough. (Add a little extra flour if the mixture becomes too wet.)

❺ With floured hands, roll the dough into 8–12 balls (depending on the size you prefer).

❻ Remove the stew from the oven and increase the temperature to 180C/Gas 4. Place the dumplings in the stew, replace the lid and cook for a further 20–25 minutes, until the dumplings have grown in size and are soft and tender. (If you prefer your dumplings to have a crisp top, don’t cover the dish when returning it to the oven.) Cool slightly before serving.

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