Beef stew and dumplings

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There's nothing quite like a comforting bowl of beef stew, especially when topped off with fluffy little dumpling pillows. Dominic Chapman makes sure the meat is meltingly tender in his recipe by braising it for several hours, and adds flavour with salty pancetta, star anise and plenty of hearty veg.

First published in 2015




Beef stew



Cut the braising beef into large pieces - you are going to braise the meat until tender, if the pieces are cut too small they may break up
Place a large pan over a medium heat and add a dash of oil. Add the meat and pancetta, cook until browned then add the vinegar and stir thoroughly for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat
  • 1 dash of vegetable oil
  • 40ml of red wine vinegar
  • 80g of pancetta, chopped
Place a saucepan over a medium heat and add a knob of butter. Once melted, add the leek, celery and carrots and cook until soft and golden brown, then remove from the heat
In a separate pan, repeat the process with the sliced onion, star anise and butter. Then, do the same in another pan using the large flat mushrooms and a knob of butter
Preheat the oven to 220˚C/gas mark 8
Cut the tomato in half and toss with the caster sugar in a bowl. Arrange cut-side down on a baking tray and drizzle with a dash of olive oil
Cook the tomatoes in the oven for 20 minutes, or until tender and caramelised
Combine all of the caramelised vegetables with the meat, pancetta, tomatoes and bouquet garni in a flameproof casserole dish. Pour in enough stock to cover and simmer for 2 1/2 hours
  • 5g of bouquet garni
  • 2l chicken stock
Once the meat is very tender, strain the sauce from the pot into a separate pan. Return the sauce to the hob and simmer until it reduces down to a thin gravy-like consistency
Return the solids to the pan with the sauce and remove from the heat
Place a frying pan over a medium heat and add a knob of butter. Add the baby onions and cook until browned. Then, remove the onions and set aside
Add another knob of butter to the same pan and return to the heat. Add the button mushrooms and fry until browned. Add both the baby onions and mushrooms to the beef stew
For the dumplings, mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add the suet and enough water to bind the mix
Roll the dough into small dumplings - approximately the size of cherry tomatoes. This mix should yield 16 dumplings
Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to a simmer and add the dumplings. Cover the pan and poach for 15-20 minutes
Reheat the stew on the stove until hot
Divide the hot stew into bowls and finish with chopped parsley and the dumplings. Serve immediately
First published in 2015

Dominic Chapman's passion for food is in the blood: his family has owned and run the highly acclaimed Castle Hotel in Taunton for over 60 years.

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