NOTHING makes me happier than loading up my slow cooker in the morning and coming home in the evening to a delicious cooked meal.
This beef and ale stew is a hearty and warming recipe from the Good Housekeeping magazine. It is made doubly delicious with the addition of cheesy dumplings.
Slow Cooker Beef And Ale Stew
50 g (2oz) plain flour
1.2kg (2lb 11oz) chuck, stewing or casserole beef steak, trimmed and cut into 5cm (2in) chunks
4 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, sliced
300 ml (10 fl oz (½ pint)) beef stock
500 ml (17 fl 0z) ale
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh thyme
200 g (7oz) button mushrooms, halved if large
2 large carrots, cut into 5cm (2in) chunks
FOR THE DUMPLINGS
100 g (3 ½oz) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
50 g 1 butter
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped, plus extra to garnish
1 tsp fresh thyme, leaves picked
50 g 1 extra mature Cheddar cheese, grated
Put the flour in a large mixing bowl and season. Toss a third of the beef in flour to coat, shaking off excess. Heat 1tbsp oil in a large casserole over medium heat. Fry meat until browned all over. Set aside. Repeat with the remaining meat using 1tbsp oil each time. Add 75ml (3fl oz) water to pan,
scraping up brown bits.
Reduce the heat. Add remaining oil and onions to pan. Cover and cook for 15min until soft, adding a splash of stock if dry.
Return beef to pan with stock, ale and herbs. Bring to boil. Turn down heat, partially cover and simmer for 2-3hr until tender.
Add the mushrooms and carrots; simmer for 30min.
Meanwhile, make dumplings. Heat oven to 200°C (180°C fan) mark 6. Mix all ingredients, apart from cheese, in a bowl with plenty of seasoning, or
pulse in a food processor until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add cheese and mix in to form larger flakes, then sprinkle over 1–2tbsp water to bring the dough together. Roll into 6 balls and dot around stew leaving a 2cm (¾in) gap between them. Put into oven uncovered and cook for 20min until dumplings are puffed and golden. Sprinkle over extra parsley, if you like, and serve.
This Morphy Richards slow cooker is ideal for recipes like these. Read a review here.
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