Serious levels of warmth and comfort will be found bubbling beneath the lid of this winter warmer. The stew itself is best made in advance and the dumplings added before you are ready to serve. Use the best-quality ingredients you can for this dish to really make it sing.

Ingredients

Serves: 4
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 3 hours

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1kg braising steak such as bavette/flank or shin, cut into large pieces
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 200ml red wine
  • 500ml beef stock
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the dumplings:

  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 100g butter
  • 50g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 100ml milk

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas 4. Heat the olive oil in a large casserole over a medium-high heat. While it is heating, toss the beef in the flour and season well with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the beef and fry until brown on all sides. Remove from the casserole and set aside.
  3. Add the onion, carrot, garlic and thyme to the casserole with a little more oil if needed and gently fry for 5-6 minutes until softened.
  4. Add the red wine and bubble to reduce almost by half before returning the beef to the casserole with the stock. Cover and put in the oven for 2½ hours.
  5. When it has almost finished cooking, make the dumplings. Add the flour, parsley and butter to a large bowl with the cheddar. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until it resembles rough breadcrumbs.
  6. Season well and gradually add the milk into the mix. Tip out onto a flour surface and knead a little before rolling into a sausage shape. Divide into 12 pieces and use lightly floured hands to shape into balls.
  7. Shred the beef a little and stir through the sauce. Arrange the dumplings on top, leaving a little gap between each one. Cover and return to the oven for 30 minutes until the dumplings have risen, then remove the lid and cook for another 15 minutes until they're golden. dumplings on top, leaving a little gap between each one.
  8. Cover and return to the oven for 30 minutes until the dumplings have risen, then remove the lid and cook for another 15 minutes until they're golden.