The autumn/winter season means slow cooking in my house, and here is a firm favourite of ours – beef stew and dumplings. Easy to put together early morning (or even the night before) ready for dinner when it’s cold and dark and the last thing you want to do is start cooking!
The quantities I’ve given here are just rough estimates, as you’ll want to make enough to feed your family…and ultimately, you can put whatever veggies you like into your stew, as well as any flavourings that you prefer! The way you use your slow cooker may be different, I’ll be describing how I do things…perhaps share with me in the comments how you make a stew/casserole in the slow cooker?
- oil for browning the meat
- 4 beef steaks (or a beef joint) suitable for slow cooking
- 3 - 4 potatoes, cut into thick slices
- 2 - 3 onions, cut into thick slices
- 1 leek, cut into chunks
- 2 carrots, cut into chunks
- 2 parsnips, cut into chunks
- ½ butternut squash, cut into thick slices, skin left on
- 4 large field mushrooms
- can of sweetcorn or peas
- gravy granules to thicken (optional)
For the gravy
- 1 mug (regular size) beef stock
- ½ tbsp tomato purée
- ½ tbsp English mustard
- 2 tsp dried rosemary
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- salt + pepper
For the dumplings
- 120g self-raising flour
- 60g butter, cut into pieces
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp mixed herbs
- ½ tsp salt
- water to form a dough
- Heat a frying pan and add a little oil. Brown the meat on all sides and remove from the heat.
- Meanwhile, set the slow cooker to high and add the onions, potatoes, carrots, leeks, parsnips and butternut squash.
- Add the meat and pour over any remaining pan juices.
- Mix all the gravy ingredients together and pour over the ingredients.
- After an hour, turn the slow cooker down to low and cook for 6 hours.
- After 6 hours, give the stew a stir and add the field mushrooms and canned sweetcorn or peas (or both!) and leave to cook for another hour.
- To prepare the dumplings, mix together the flour, baking powder, herbs and salt and then rub in the butter. Add water to form a dough and then form into balls.
- With an hour or so to go, add the dumplings to the stew, and spoon over a little gravy - by now there will be plenty more liquid in the slow cooker.
- When ready to serve - you want a minimum of 8 hours, but more won't hurt, stir in some gravy granules to thicken the gravy if you wish.
- Dish up and enjoy!