Beef Casserole

Beef Casserole

Nothing speaks comfort like an old-fashioned beef stew on a chilly evening. And throw in a cozy fireplace and a bear rug and the picture is complete. Positively packed with flavour, this is the richest, tastiest classic beef stew and we’re confident you’re going to Love it.

Preparation time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 3 hours
Serves: Serves 4

Ingredients

• 2 celery sticks, thickly sliced
• 1 onion, chopped
• 2 really big carrots, halved lengthways then very chunkily sliced
• 5 bay leaves
• 2 thyme sprigs, 1 whole and 1 leaves picked
• 1 tbsp vegetable oil
• 1 tbsp butter
• 2 tbsp plain flour
• 2 tbsp tomato purée
• 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
• 2 beef stock cubes, crumbled
• 850g stewing beef (featherblade or brisket works nicely), cut into nice large chunks

For the dumplings
• 150g self-raising flour, plus a little extra
• 70g suet
• small handful of parsley, chopped (optional)

Method

1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3 and put the kettle on.
2. Put 2 thickly sliced celery sticks, 1 chopped onion, 2 chunkily sliced carrots, 5 bay leaves and 1 whole thyme sprig in a flameproof casserole dish with 1 tbsp vegetable oil and 1 tbsp butter.
3. Soften for 10 mins, then stir in 2 tbsp plain flour until it doesn’t look dusty anymore, followed by 2 tbsp tomato purée, 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce and 2 crumbled beef stock cubes.
4. Gradually stir in 600ml hot water, then tip in 850g stewing beef and bring to a gentle simmer.
5. Cover and put in the oven for 2hrs 30 mins, then uncover and cook for 30mins – 1hr more until the meat is really tender and the sauce is thickened.
6. Whilst your stew is bubbling, make the dumplings. Weigh the flour into a bowl and add ½ tsp salt. Stir through the suet and parsley, if using. Make a well in the centre and add 3 tbsp cold water, mix to a dough, adding more water until the dough is firm but pliable. Divide into eight equal pieces and roll in a little more flour into balls. Chill until needed.
7. When the stew has about 30 mins to go, arrange the dumplings on top and cover with a lid. With the oven at 160C/140C fan/gas 3, cook the stew and dumplings for 20 mins, then remove the lid and cook for another 10 mins until they’re brown and puffed up.
8. Garnish with the picked leaves of the remaining thyme sprig.