This summer has been fantastic, I have loved the sun, the heat and eating a lot of salads. Â Whilst basking in all this however, there was a tiny bit of my happy in the knowledge that come September it might cool down a little and I would be able to light the fire and make some cosy autumn food.
Now, I realise I seem to have dived right into ‘freezing outside, possibly even snowing winter food’ but you know what I couldn’t resist. Â It has been months since my last stew (I feel that should have been confession) and it was time for a fix. Â Added to that my little boy asked earlier in the week when we would be having stew and dumplings. Â Sooner than you think my little treasure I thought to myself.
Here it is and it is a beauty. Â Very simple, 30 minutes work tops and then a few hours in the oven. Â What you are rewarded with however, far exceeds that brief effort you put in. Â Tender falling apart beef, soft carrots, crispy and fluffy dumplings with masses of glistening savoury gravy. Â You can then sit around the table, enjoy this with some greens and perhaps raise a glass of good red wine to the fabulous summer of 2013.
Beef and Carrot Stew with Parsley Dumplings
1 kg braising beef, cubed
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, chopped
7/8 medium carrots, peeled and halved lenthways
1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
500ml beef stock
200ml red wine
1 teaspoon redcurrant jelly
Sprig of thyme
For the dumplings –
100g self raising flour
A handful of parsley, finely chopped
5 tablespoons cold water
Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 150c. Â Heat the oil in a large casserole (that has a lid) and brown the meat in batches and set aside. Â Then fry the onion (you may need a little more oil) until softened. Â Return the meat to the pan, sprinkle over the flour and stir it in well. Â Pour over the stock and wine and redcurrant jelly, give it a mix then add the carrots, thyme and bay leaf. Â Put into the oven for 3 hours.
Just before the time is up, mix the ingredients for the dumplings and form into little balls about the size of a walnut and turn the oven up to 180. Â Remove the pan from the oven, quickly (and carefully) check the seasoning and then place the dumplings onto the surface of the stew. Â Put the lid back on and return to the oven for 20 minutes, then remove the lid and cook for a further 20 minutes to crisp up the outside of the dumplings. Â Enough for 4.
We followed this with a fabulous custard tart (I know, I know, bikini appropriate food clearly now forgotten) and it made me proud of British Food!