When I was younger, I thought there were few culinary combinations as perfect as those in a stew. Big chunks of beef, dumplings and a hearty mix of vegetables, it really is the ultimate comfort food. The recipe which I use is from my Nan although I have changed it slightly by having it served on a bed of garlic mash rather than potatoes cooked in the stew itself. I like good quality beef in my stew but cook it for long enough and any cut will be tender! You can throw in any root vegetables that you have in the cupboard, celery makes a very welcome addition.
Large pack of steak
3 sticks celery
1 handful of pearl barley
1 can chick peas
2 leeks, roughly chopped
200g swede, cut into large chunks
500ml beef stock
Baked beans (don’t knock it until you try it!)
60g Vegetable suet
125g self-raising flour 1 tsp baking powder for dumplings
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt to taste
1 pinch ground white pepper
- Fry chopped onion, add diced steak and fry. Add sliced carrot and celery and half a handful of barley. Half fill the pan with boiling water, add a beef stock cube and leave to simmer for an hour. Season. Add tinned chick peas, baked beans and tomato soup to the stew.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil; add potatoes, and boil until soft, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain, and place in a large bowl. Combine potatoes with milk, butter, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix with an electric mixer or potato masher to your desired consistency.
- For the dumplings, sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Add the suet and enough water to form a thick dough. With floured hands, roll spoonfuls of the dough into small balls. Place the balls on top of the stew, cover, return to the hob and cook for a further 20 minutes.
- Serve over a a bed of mash.