FOR THE STEW
- 2–3 tbsp oil
- 1kg (2lb 3oz) braising beef, diced (see tip)
- 250g (9oz) small shallots, peeled and halved
- 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 200g (7oz) button mushrooms
- 50g (2oz) plain flour
- 500ml (18fl oz) ale
- 150ml (5fl oz) beef stock
- 2–3 tbsp onion marmalade or caramelised onion chutney
- 1–2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- A dash of gravy browning (optional)
- 3 bay leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE DUMPLINGS
- 175g (6oz) self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
- 75g (3oz) shredded suet (beef or vegetable)
- 3–4 tbsp hot horseradish sauce
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- You will need a 4-litre (7-pint) deep flameproof and ovenproof casserole dish with a lid. Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/Gas 3.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in the casserole dish, add the beef and brown all over on a high heat – you will need to do this in batches, removing the meat with a slotted spoon as it is cooked and setting aside.
- Pour in a little more oil if needed and add the shallots with the carrots and mushrooms. Stir-fry over a high heat for 4–5 minutes.
- Measure the flour into a bowl and gradually whisk in the ale, slowly at first to make a smooth paste before adding the rest of the ale.
- Return the meat to the casserole dish, then pour in the flour mixture and the stock. Stir over a high heat until the liquid is thickened and bubbling. Add the onion marmalade/chutney, Worcestershire sauce, gravy browning (if using) and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper, then stir as you bring back up to the boil and allow to bubble for a couple of minutes. Cover with the lid and transfer to the oven to cook for 2–2½ hours or until the meat is tender.
- To make the dumplings, measure the flour and suet into a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Gradually stir in 125–150ml (4–5fl oz) of water to make a soft, sticky dough (see tip). Transfer to a floured work surface and gently knead until smooth.
- Sprinkle flour on to a sheet of baking paper, sit the dough on top and roll into a rectangle about 15 x 25cm (6 x 10in). Spread the top with the horseradish sauce and scatter with the parsley. Roll up the dough into a Swiss roll, working from the long side and using the baking paper to help. Chill in the fridge for 45 minutes and slice into eight using a serrated knife (see tip).
- When the meat is tender, remove from the oven and increase the temperature to 220°C/200°C fan/Gas 7. Remove the lid from the casserole and arrange the dumplings, spiral side up and spaced apart, on top of the stew. Return to the oven and cook, uncovered, for about 25 minutes or until the dumplings are golden and puffed up.
- Remove the bay leaves and serve piping hot with buttered cabbage.