Soups & Stews

Hearty Beef and Red Wine Stew with Dumplings


1 tbsp oil

2 tbsp plain flour

500g chopped beef stewing steak

1 onion, chopped

1 celery stick, cut into chunks

3-4 carrots, cut into chunks

120ml red wine

400ml beef stock

2 tbsp fresh rosemary

Worcester sauce, to taste

pinch of salt

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Dumplings

120g plain flour

60g suet

pinch of salt

freshly ground black pepper

cold water

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4

Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the beef chunks and fry until just browned. Sprinkle over the plain flour until the beef is evenly coated and fry for a further 2 minutes.

Transfer the beef to an ovenproof casserole dish and add the chopped vegetables, wine, beef stock, rosemary, Worcester sauce, salt and black pepper, cover with a lid, transfer to the oven and cook for at least two hours or until the meat is tender and the gravy is glossy and rich.  I like to slow cook the stew for around 4 hours, making sure I check every 40 mins or so to add extra stock if needed (I usually add an extra glug of wine for good measure too).  You can also make this dish in the slow cooker if you prefer.

For the dumplings, combine the flour, suet, salt and pepper in a bowl and add water 1 tbsp at a time until a thick dough is formed.  Divide the dough into 6 equal balls and set to one side.

Half an hour before serving, remove the lid from the stew, add the dumplings and cook for 20-25 minutes until the top of the dumplings has started to crisp and turn golden.

Serve the stew and dumplings on their own or accompany them with creamy mashed potatoes.


Chunky Winter Broth


This dish reminds me of my childhood as my Mam used to always make it during the cold winter months. I tent to add whatever sort of veg I can get my hands on at the time and you can make it with chicken, turkey or ham rather than bacon and use the meat stock. There are many different variations you can do depending on personal preference or whatever you have available but they are all delicious!

500g red lentils

1 chicken or vegetable stock cube

1 parsnip

4 carrots

1 leek

1 onion

8 rashers of bacon, chopped, with fat removed

Add the lentils to a large saucepan, cover with water and cook over a medium heat. Don’t add any salt or seasoning at this point, as it will interfere with the cooking of the lentils. Stir the lentils every few minutes, if the water looks like it is being absorbed too much by the lentils just add a few cups more. If the water starts to boil, turn the heat down and leave to gently simmer. There is no exact measurement for the water with this one, just go on the appearance of the broth, if it looks like it needs more water, just add a little more until it looks right.

While the lentils are cooking, chop all of the vegetables and the bacon into small chunks and set to one side.

Once the lentils have softened and the liquid is thick, add the stock cube, the vegetables and the bacon and stir thoroughly.

Cover the pan and leave on a low heat for around 20-30 mins, or until the veg has softened, stirring occasionally.

This is delicious served on it’s own, with warm crusty break or with good old dumplings!