Takes 3 hours 30 minutes
January is in the grip of an arctic blast, meaning it's the perfect excuse to indulge in warming comfort food, plentiful beef stew and dumplings is a dish that will warm the heart as well as your cockles.
Chuck steak is a splendid choice for such recipes, a relatively lean cut that transforms into tender bites after slow and gentle cooking. A wonderfully cost-effective option for your weekend culinary endeavours.
1. Preheat your oven to 170C fan.
2. Begin by setting a large, deep pot on a medium heat with 1 tbsp olive oil, add in the bacon lardons and fry until the fat has rendered and they begin to crisp slightly. Remove and set aside.
3. Add in the chuck steak and brown the pieces on all sides (you may have to do this in batches depending on the size of your pot). Once browned, remove and set aside along with the bacon.
4. Add in the onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Fry in the meat fats until fragrant and the vegetables have softened – approx. 7 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook out for 5 minutes, pour in the ale to deglaze the pan then add the chuck steak and bacon back in.
5. Stir well to combine then pour in the beef stock, along with the bay leaves, worcestershire sauce and brown sugar, season with a little salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil then pop on a lid and place in the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes.
6. After this time has passed, remove from the oven and add the diced swede and potatoes, stirring well to combine into the sauce. Place the lid back on and put back in the oven for another 1 hour 30 minutes.
7. 15 minutes before the stew is finished cooking, you can prepare your dumplings. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients to form a relatively tacky mixture.
8. Divide the mixture into five equal amounts as best you can and using the palms of your hands, roll them into balls.
9. Remove the stew from the oven and turn up the heat to 180C fan. Sit your dumplings on top – place them with a good amount of space in between each one as they will expand quite a lot when cooking. Place the lid back on and pop in the oven for 15 minutes to steam. After this time, remove the lid and place back in the oven for a final 15 minutes so turn go lovely and golden.
10. Remove from the oven and allow the stew to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Spoon generous helpings into bowls and finish with a scattering of chopped parsley for freshness. Enjoy!
For the stew:
• Olive oil, for frying
• 1.5kg chuck steak, cut into large cubes
• 250g smoked bacon lardons
• 2 large white onions, diced
• 2 sticks of celery, finely diced
• 3 large carrots, finely diced
• 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
• 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
• 1 swede, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
• 1 tbsp tomato paste
• 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
• 1 x 440ml Guinness or dark ale
• 2 tsp brown sugar
• 800ml beef stock
• 2 bay leaves
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Handful of parsley, roughly chopped
For the Cheddar and Chive Dumplings:
• 250g self raising flour
• 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
• 100g beef suet
• 50ml buttermilk
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp white pepper
• 120g grated mature cheddar cheese
• A generous handful of chives, finely chopped