Beef casserole with herb dumplings
Ideal for a hearty meal on a cold spring evening!
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: about 2¾ hours
3 tbsp plain flour
900g Aberdeen Angus braising steak, diced
3 tbsp sunflower oil
2 medium leeks, washed and sliced
350g Chantenay carrots, washed and trimmed
250g Portabellini mushrooms, quartered
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped
2 bay leaves, torn in half
1 litre beef stock
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
For the dumplings
100g self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
50g Light Shredded Vegetable suet or beef suet
Good handful of fresh flat-leafparsley, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground, to taste
Preheat the oven to 170°C, gas mark 3.
Place the flour either into a clean plastic food bag and season generously. Then, in batches, lightly dust the beef in the flour, shaking off any excess.Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large flameproof casserole. In the hot casserole,fry the beef in batches, until sealed and caramelised. Remove from casserole dish and leave aside, but keep warm.
Add the leeks and carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes until golden. Stir in the mushrooms, half the thyme leaves and all the bay leaves. Return the beef to the casserole and pour in the stock and the Worcestershire sauce.Bring up to the boil, then cover before transferring to the oven for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Just before the end of 2 hours, make the dumplings.
Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl, stir in the suet, parsley and remaining thyme and season generously. Stir in 4-5 tablespoons cold water, enough to make a soft, sticky dough. With floured hands, roll into 8 evenly sized balls, about the size ofwalnuts.
Remove the casserole from the oven and stir. The beef should be tender and the carrots cooked. Check and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Drop the dumplings into the casserole and spoon a little of the liquid over the top.
Cover and return casserole to the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the dumplings look light and puffy, then serve.
Serve with mashed potatoes and a green vegetable, such as sprouts.