Beef stew and dumplings by John Torode

This delicious stew really is a leave-it-to-cook wonder

Ingredients (Serves 6)

  • 2kg/41⁄2lb stewing steak, such as beef shin or neck, diced
  • 100g/4oz plain flour seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 40g/11⁄2oz beef dripping or lard
  • 225g/8oz onions, peeled and sliced
  • 700g/11⁄2lb potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1ltr/13⁄4pt beef stock or water
  • Freshly chopped parsley to serve

For the dumplings

  • 300g/11oz suet
  • 700/11⁄2lb self-raising flour, sifted
  • 300ml/1⁄2pt warm water


Preheat the oven to 190°C, 375°F, Gas 5.

Trim any excess fat from the diced steak. Put the seasoned flour into a plastic bag, add the meat, close the top of the bag and shake until the meat chunks are coated with the flour.

Melt the dripping or lard in a casserole dish on the hob. Add the meat and onions and fry until the meat is browned, stirring all the time. Add the potatoes and stir. Pour in the stock or water and stir, scraping the bottom of the dish to lift any stuck bits of meat.

Cover with a lid or foil and transfer to the oven. Reduce the heat to 150°C, 275°F, Gas 1 and cook for 3 hours, until the meat is tender and cooked.

To make the dumplings, mix the suet, flour and a little salt in a bowl and stir in the warm water. Roll spoonfuls of the mixture between your palms into dumplings the size of golf balls.

Remove 100ml/4fl oz gravy from the cooked stew and pour it into a pan with 500ml/18fl oz water. Bring to the boil. Place half the dumplings in the pan and cook for 10 minutes, turning them so they cook evenly. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm while you cook the remainder.

Serve the dumplings either in a separate bowl to the stew, or gently place them into the stew. As a final touch, sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley.