Beef and Dumplings

This hearty slow-cooked stew from David Massey is flavoured with stout and garnished with herbed dumplings
By David Massey
Beef and Dumplings
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8-10
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • 50 g butter, or dripping
  • 250 g pancetta, or streaky bacon, diced
  • 500baby g onions, peeled
  • 1.5 kg chuck steak, trimmed and cut into large chunks
  • 50 g plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 litres beer
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 stalks parsley
  • 250 g button mushrooms
  • 250 g open-cap flat mushrooms, sliced about 5mm thick
  • 115 g self-raising flour
  • 115 g white breadcrumbs
  • 115 g suet
  • 1 small bunches chives, finely chopped
  • 1 small bunches parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 orange, zest only
  • 1 tsp grated fresh horseradish
  • salt and black pepper


1. Heat the butter or dripping in a large frying pan and brown the pancetta or bacon until the fat runs. Transfer to a large casserole.

2. In the same frying pan, gently fry the baby onions, shaking occasionally, until they are lightly browned all over. Transfer to the casserole.

3. Toss the beef in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess, and brown it in the same pan, in batches, transferring to the casserole when nicely coloured.

4. Pour some of the beer into the pan to deglaze it, scraping any residue from the base of the pan with a wooden spatula and tipping it all into the casserole. Pour in the rest of the beer, adding a little water, if necessary, cover the meat. Add the bay leaves, thyme and parsley, tied into a bouquet garni, and season with salt and pepper.

5. Bring to the boil, simmer very gently, with the lid on but slightly ajar. Cook the stew for about 2 1/2hours for chuck steak, until the meat is completely tender. Add a little hot water if the meat is starting to get exposed and dry out.

6. About 11/2 hours, sweat the button and open-cup mushrooms in a pan with a little butter until the juices run out and add them to the casserole, along with the juices.

7. To make the dumplings, mix the flour, breadcrumbs, suet, chives, parsley and thyme in a large bowl and season the mixture with salt and pepper. Make a well in the centre and pour in the eggs. Using a fork, bring the dry ingredients into the centre to form a soft dough, adding the orange zest and horseradish.

8. Use your hands to work the dough until smooth, adding the rest of the egg if it seems too dry. Do not knead more than is necessary to bring the dough together. Divide the dough into quarters, then make 3 round dumplings from each quarter. After 1 ¾ hours, add the dumplings to the casserole.

9. After 2 1/2 hours the casserole should be ready, taste and adjust the seasoning and serve.

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