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Beef Casserole with Oatmeal Dumplings

Beef Casserole - Kevin DundonIn the cold winter months, a stew is such a nourishing family meal. The beauty of it is that you can pop it on top of the cooker, or in the oven, and just forget about it for an hour or two and it will happily cook away.

In this recipe Kevin Dundon (of Dunbrody House Hotel) has chosen to add some dumplings as they are a favourite of his. It’s best to make them about 30 minutes before you need them and hold them in the fridge until required.

Serves 6

Casserole:

700g/ 1lb 8oz lean stewing beef
1 medium onion, cut in slices
2 carrots, peeled and diced
½ turnip, chopped into small dice
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
2 sticks celery, diced
25g/1oz/2½ tablespoons plain flour
1 large teaspoon of tomato purée
850ml/1½ pints beef stock

Herb Dumplings:

200g/7oz self raising flour
2oz/50g Flahavan’s Progress Oatlets
50g/ 2oz suet
Pinch of salt
½ medium onion, very finely diced
2 teaspoons freshly chopped parsley
3 ½ floz/75ml soured milk (approx)

Heat a little oil in a large saucepan.
Add the stewing beef, having cut it into small chunks, and fry quickly until coloured or sealed all over.
Prepare the vegetables (carrots, celery, parsnip, onion, turnip), cutting them all into bite size dice similar to the beef.
Add the vegetables into the sealed beef and mix them in well; cook for 3-4 minutes until all the vegetables are sealed and glazed in the same way as the beef.

Next add in the tomato purée and sprinkle the flour on top of the mixture.
Mix in the flour (this will act as a thickening agent) ensuring that all the vegetables and meat are covered and coated lightly. Stir over low heat to cook the flour, then pour in the stock and mix it well to ensure that there are no lumps of flour. Allow this mixture to come to the boil and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 1½ -2 hours until the meat and vegetables are tender and the sauce is a nice consistency.

Meanwhile, make the Dumplings:

Mix the flour, Flahavan’s porridge oats, suet, salt, finely diced onion and fresh parsley together. Mix well.
Gently stir in the soured milk, do not add all the milk at once because it may not take all of the liquid. The mixture should be similar to a soft dough (like a scone).
Knead the dough very gently, just until it comes together, and then cut out the dumplings using a cup or a scone cutter. They should be no thicker that ¾ inch/2cm.
Sometimes people like to mix in a little cheddar cheese in with the dumplings (no more than 50g/ 2oz).

To finish the dish:

About ½ hour before the stew is ready you need to drop in the dumplings.
These cook in the stew and take about 25-30 minutes
If you wish you can finish the stew off in the oven by transferring it to a casserole dish with a lid and placing in a moderate oven.

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