Braised Stout Beef and Carrot Stew with Parsley Dumplings

We are well and truly into Autumn now. The heating is on, the winter duvet is out of storage and the summer wardrobe is sadly no longer needed.
It's not all bad news though, it's time for winter boots, big jumpers, autumn walks, and Halloween and (dare I say it?) Christmas are not too far away.
One of my favourite things about this time of year is enjoying comforting, warming food. You just can't enjoy a slow-cooked casserole as much in the summer months, just as a cold salad is never as appealing when it's cold outside.
I'm going to be featuring lots of recipes to get you through Autumn including puddings, pies, soups and cakes. Many will feature seasonal ingredients too so you are guaranteed a delicious dish!
Here's one to get you started, this tasty stew is perfect for a sunday dinner and all the family will love it!

Ingredients (serves 6-8)

For the stew:
3 tbsp olive oil
800g chuck beef steak, trimmed and cut into 5cm (2in) cubes
3 onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
2 tbsp plain flour
500ml can Guinness or stout
300ml beef stock
4 carrots, sliced on the diagonal
1 tsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar

For the parsley dumplings:
175g self-raising flour
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp snipped fresh chives
75g beef shredded suet
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


- Preheat the oven to 160ºC. Heat a heavy-based casserole dish with a lid on the hob.
- Add one tablespoon of the oil and as soon as it starts smoking, tip in the beef. Quickly brown on all sides, then transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon. Set aside.
- Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and then tip in the onions to and cook for about 5 minutes until lightly golden, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the thyme and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Sprinkle in the flour and continue to cook over a low heat for another minute or so, stirring constantly.
- Gradually pour in the Guinness or stout, stirring until smooth after each addition. Pour in the stock, stirring to combine and season lightly, then add the carrots with the sugar and vinegar.
- Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and tip the reserved beef, mixing well to combine.
- Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven and cook for 1 hour until the beef is almost tender and the liquid has reduced and slightly thickened.
- To make the dumplings, mix the flour, herbs and seasoning in a bowl and then mix in the suet.
- Add 6 tablespoons of cold water to make a fairly stiff but elastic dough that leaves the bowl clean.
- Knead it lightly and shape into 12 dumplings.
- Remove the stew from the oven and take off the lid. Increase the heat of the oven to 200ºC. Pop in the dumplings into the stew and return to the oven for another 30 minutes or until the dumplings are golden brown and crusty. Serve straight to the table.

Recipe courtesy of Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board.


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