How to make a perfect British winter warmer of Beef and Red Wine Stew with Dumplings.
Diced beef, aka stewing, chuck, braising or casserole steak with onions, carrots, swede, mushrooms, thyme, red wine and stock.
Slow-cooked in a cast iron pan or casserole dish in the oven for over 2 hours. Finally, the stew is topped with English dumplings, which can be made with suet or without suet.
How to make Beef Stew with Dumplings?
We show you how to make it at home, check out the video slideshow below.
Of course you can jump straight down to the recipe card from here, or read more info on this blog for all the tips and tricks to perfect your Beef and Red Wine Stew with dumplings?Jump to Recipe
Beef Stew is as British, as it comes, this dish has kept people on their feet during hard times and many years of cold winters.
What Beef to use for a stew or casserole?
Choose a cut of beef which needs to be slow-cooked. Known as braising steak, stewing steak or casserole steak or sometimes simply called diced beef in the UK.
The area the beef usually comes from is the Chuck, Cheeks, Skirt, Flank or Brisket.
The bonus is these cuts are also the cheaper cuts of beef! You can buy it pre diced or chop it yourself?
How to make a thick beef stew?
So many people try to thicken the stew after it is cooked, with our method of cooking this will not be necessary.
It actually starts right at the beginning of cooking by simply adding flour to your beef before searing!
Why sear beef before cooking?
I recommend searing beef before cooking for a few reasons. Not only for better texture and flavour to the beef but it also prepares the pan with juicy meaty flavours.
What about the left over bits of beef and flour in the pan?
The leftover flour and beef fat in the pan are the base of your stew! DO NOT try and scrape it off, this is what will give a delicious base flavouring when deglazed with the wine and stock added later!
These dregs well also be what helps to thicken your sauce during cooking. For now add some extra oil and saute the vegetables on top of the meat juices.
What vegetables to use in a stew?
You can choose your favourites from onions, shallots, potatoes, carrots, leeks, swede, parsnip, celery, mushrooms, sweet potatoes or butternut squash.
In this case, we choose onions, swede, carrots and mushrooms. Sauté harder root vegetable on medium heat in the beef juices for about 8 minutes.
Add softer vegetables, such as mushrooms for last few minutes
What red wine to use for stew?
There is no need to get a really expensive bottle of wine to add to your beef stew. However you shouldn't buy the cheapest one either!
My philosophy when cooking with wine.... if it doesn't taste good enough to drink from a glass, it is not going to add a good taste to your recipe!
How to deglaze a beef stew cast iron pan or casserole dish?
Add the wine and scrape any stuck on beef and flour off the bottom of the cast iron pan.
Add the stock and Worcestershire sauce. It will seem like a lot of liquid, at this point. The liquid gets soaked up over the 2 hour cooking period and when the dumplings are added.
What herbs to use in with beef and red wine stew?
Thyme is is a great herb to use with beef, we love to use a few fresh sprigs, however, you can use dried instead.
A couple of bay leaves also work well to give a delicate seasoning in this slow cooked stew.
How long does it take to cook a beef stew and what temperature?
Stewing steak needs long cooking times at low heat, to produce tender chunks of melt in the mouth beef.
Cook covered for 2 hours with the oven set to 150°C fan/ 300°F to cook the stew, before adding dumplings for the final 30 minutes.
Enjoy the heavenly scent passing through the house during this time!
What is a dumpling?
A dumpling is a piece of dough made from starch, they are made differently worldwide!
This recipe uses savoury dumplings, which are widely used in English and Irish cuisine.
How to make British dumplings for Beef Stew?
These traditional British dumplings are made from self-raising flour and suet, mixed together with herbs, seasoning and water.
We use Atora shredded beef suet which is widely available in all UK supermarkets,
How to make dumplings without suet?
To make dumplings without suet, simply use room temperature butter, margarine, fat or vegetable shortening such as Trex, cut into small chunks or grated.
What herbs to add to dumplings?
We used the leaves from 6 sprigs of thyme to add a nice herby flavour to the dumplings.
How to mix dumplings?
Do not use a mixer, it won't take long to form into a delightfully sticky dumpling dough.
So, just get your hands straight in to mix the dumpling ingredients together
Roll into 8 individual balls of dough slightly larger than a golf ball.
When to add dumplings to a stew?
Dumplings get added to the stew towards the end of cooking.
Add them into the nearly finished stew and push them halfway down into the juices.
How long do dumplings take to cook?
It depends on the size for how long they take to cook. These slightly larger than a golf ball size take 30 minutes. Smaller will only take 20 minutes.
Should I cook dumplings with lid on or off?
Always use a lid to cook dumplings, they cook from the build-up of steam.
If you like your stew dumplings crispy on top as we do! You can, of course, remove the lid for the last 10 minutes.
Dumplings when cooked will swell and increase in size.
What to serve with Beef and Red Wine Stew?
Beef stew is a meal in its own! Serve as it is or you can add extra green vegetables to serve alongside it.
We added some peas with ours.
Can I make Beef Stew and Dumplings ahead of time?
Beef stew and dumplings are at their best when made fresh. It can be made ahead, if needed.
How long will beef and red wine stew keep in the fridge?
Beef stew can be stored covered for 3-4 days in an air tight container. Reheat in the oven or microwave.
Can I freeze Beef Stew?
Beef stew can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 6 months, always defrost fully before reheating in the oven or microwave until piping hot. The dumplings will not be as nice as when fresh.
Beef and Red Wine Stew with Dumplings
Beef Stew Ingredients
- 2 tbsp Plain flour
- 600 grams ( 1.2 lb ) Stewing steak aka diced beef, brasing steak or chuck steak
- salt and pepper
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil 2 tbsp for the beef and 1 tbsp for the vegetables
- 2 Onions diced
- 2 large Carrots chopped
- 300 grams ( 10 oz ) Swede chopped into cubes
- 500 ml ( 2 cups ) Beef Stock
- 250 ml ( 1 cup ) Red Wine
- 200 grams ( 7 oz ) Chestnut mushrooms chopped
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Bay leaf
- 3 sprigs Thyme sprigs (fresh) sub with 1tsp dried thyme
- 200 grams ( 1 ½ cups ) self-raising flour
- 100 grams ( 7 tbsp ) Suet can be substituted with butter, margarine, fat or vegetable shortening
- 6 sprigs thyme only leaves needed, not stalks. sub with 1 tsp dried thyme
- 10 tbsp water
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven 150° / 300°F fan oven.Sprinkle diced beef with plain flour and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat the 2 tbsp of olive oil, in a cast-iron dish/casserole dish on high heat. Add the stewing steak and sear until just browned on all sides.
- Don't worry about bits that have stuck to the bottom of the dish we will soak these up later.Remove the cooked steak and place to one side in a bowl.
- Add 1 more tbsp of oil with the onions, carrots and swede to the pan and cook for 8 mins.
- Next, add the mushrooms for 2 mins.
- Push the vegetables to the sides and pour the red wine into the centre of the pan.The wine will loosen the stuck bits off the bottom gathering all the flavours and flour ready for thickening your casserole. This is known as deglazing.
- Add beef stock and bring to the boil
- Add Worcestershire sauce and return the beef back to the pan
- Finally, add the thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
- Put the lid on and transfer to the 150°C / 300°F oven for 2 hrs.
How to make dumplings
- Place all the plain flour, beef suet, thyme leaves, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.
- Add cold water and mix together with your hands until the mixture forms a sticky dough
- Roll into 8, slightly larger than golf ball sized balls
- Take the casserole dish out after 2 hours, remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs.Place the dumplings on top of the stew and push down half way into the liquid.Replace the lid on the dish and put back in the oven for 20 mins.
- If you want a crispy top take lid off and cook for a final 10 minutes. If you prefer soft dumplings keep lid on for another 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle with some more fresh thyme and you are ready to serve!
For another slow-cooked beef recipe check out our Braising Steak with Horseradish Gravy - Slow Cooked Beef or our equally delicious and very British Steak and Mushroom Ale Pie