It’s that time of year when a rib-sticking stew is just the ticket to warm the cockles. Every time I make dumplings I wonder why I don’t make them more often-especially these horseradish ones which complement the beef so well. I use vegetable suet which seems a bit perverse in a meaty stew but it is the variety that is always in the cupboard. Feel free to use beef suet if you prefer.
- 4 tablespoons plain flour
- 900g shin of beef, cut into 3cm pieces
- 3 tablespoons rapeseed oil
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 5mm thick rounds
- 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 300ml stout (I use Guinness)
- 500ml beef stock
- ½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 sprigs thyme, tied together in a bunch
- For the dumplings
- 120g self-raising flour
- 60g vegetable suet
- 2 heaped tablespoons finely grated horseradish (about 22g)
- Flat-leaf parsley to garnish
- In a bowl mix the flour with a little salt and ground black pepper. Coat the pieces of beef in the seasoned flour, reserving any that is leftover. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a flameproof and ovenproof casserole. Brown the meat in small batches for 2-3 minutes each side. Lift out and set aside.
- Heat the oven to 150˚c, fan oven 130˚c, mark 2. Pour the remaining tablespoon of oil into the casserole and add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Sauté gently for 5 minutes. Return the meat to the casserole and stir in any of the leftover flour. Cook for 1 minute. Pour in the stout, stock and Worcestershire sauce and bring to the boil stirring regularly. Add the bay leaves and thyme. Cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 2 ½ hours. The meat should be really tender by now. Remove from the oven and taste and season with salt and ground black pepper.
- Turn the oven up to 200˚c, fan oven 180˚c, mark 6. For the dumplings, place the flour, suet and horseradish in a mixing bowl and add a little salt. Pour in 5-6 tablespoons cold water and bring the mixture together but don’t overwork it or the dumplings will be heavy. Form the dough into 10-12 little balls-remember they will expand- and drop them into the beef. Cook in the oven for about 20 minutes until the dumplings are swollen and golden brown. Scatter over a little flat-leaf parsley before serving.