Brown ale makes a robust gravey for beef stew with dumplings. The stew is also enriched with bacon, red onions, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, and celery, along with rosemary as the prevailing herb. You may substitute other dark beer for the ale.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 50 minutes
2 pounds, 3 ounces shin of beef (or use flank or neck), chopped into chunks
3 Tablespoons flour
3 red onions, peeled, halved and roughly sliced
1-3/4 ounces pancetta or bacon, chopped
3 sticks of celery, chopped
1 small handful of rosemary, leaves picked from stem
5 cups Newcastle Brown ale or other dark ale
2 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1-3/4 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup butter
A good pinch of salt and pepper
2 sprigs of rosemary, chopped
Season the beef, sprinkle with the flour and toss around until well coated.
Heat up a frying pan until it is good and hot, add a little olive oiland fry the beef in 2 batches until nice and brown. Transfer the meat to a big casserole — one that is suitable to go on a stovetop burner — mixing in the flour that was left on the plate after coating it.
Put the casserole on a medium heat, add the red onionsand pancetta or bacon, and cook until the onions are translucent and the pancetta has a bit of color. Add your celery and rosemary. Now you can pour in your ale and 1-1/4 cups of water, adding your parsnips, carrots, and potatoes. (Feel free to add whatever veg you like at this stage.) Bring to the boil, put a lid on, turn down the heat and leave it to simmer while you make the dumplings — which are choice.
Blitz the dumpling ingredients in a blender or rub between your fingers till you have a breadcrumb consistency, then add just enough water to make a dough that is not sticky. Divide it into ping-pong-ball-sized dumplings and put these into the stew, dunking them under. Put the lid back on and leave it to cook for 2 hours.
Taste it, season it as you like, and then serve the stew with some greens and loads of bread to mop up the juices.