I’m not entirely sure whether vegetable, beef and dumpling stew is a British dish or not. Of course there are many variations of this stew among Europe and prehaps also North America and Canada. However it’s prepared, for many generations stews have served the purpose of using up leftover ingredients, warming us in the cold months and providing all necessary nutrients in one pot. This particular stew is how my Mum learnt to make it from my Nan. Personally I don’t eat the beef, so I know it’s fine if you don’t want to add any meat. Please be aware that this recipe requires a large, deep cooking pot.
Ingredients (Serves 6):
- 4 large white potatoes
- 2 small swedes or 1 large swede.
- 4-6 carrots depending on their size.
- 4 parsnips.
- 2 large white onions.
- 400G of stewing beef steak.
- 1 can of baked beans.
- 1 can of oxtail soup.
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes.
- 2 cups of pearl barley.
- 1 packet of suet dumplings that you make yourself or from the frozen section of most supermarkets.
- Gravy granules.
Prepare all the vegetables by chopping them into chunky pieces, all of which should approximately be the same size. The onion shouldn’t be finely diced, rather being roughly chopped. Set all aside for later use.
Cut the meat to a similar size as the vegetable chunks, not too small as it will cook too far ahead of the other ingredients.
Add the beef to a large, deep cooking pot with a little water or oil. Cook until no red parts are longer visable, then turn off the heat supply.
To the same pot containing the beef add all of the prepared vegetables followed by 1 can of baked beans, 1 can of oxtail soup, 1 can of chopped tomatoes and 2 cups of water. Stir the ingredients well ensuring that the beef doesn’t stay at the bottom of the pot. All of the solid ingredients should be submerged within the liquid ingredients.
Ignite the heat source to a medium strength. Leave to stew with the lid off, for around 1 hour. Stir at 20 minute intervals.
After 1 hour, most of the liquid will have been absorbed be the vegetables and beef. Make 1 pint of gravy using gravy granules or your preferred alternative. Add the gravy to the stew, also with 2 handfuls of pearl barley. Stir once again.
Stew for 30 minutes, this time the lid should be inplace. Reduce to a low heat, stirring again at 20 minutes gaps.
After 30 minutes add the dumplings to the stew. Ensure they are pushed down into the stew to cook thoughly. The stew should be thickened by this stage. Recover pot with it’s lid.
After another 30-45 minutes, the stew should be ready to serve, just ensure the dumplings are completely cooked even in the centre. The whole stewing process shouldn’t take longer than a total of 2 hours and 45 minutes – 3 hours.
Enjoy with grounded black pepper and some lightly buttered crusty bread rolls.
Once cooled, the stew can be stored in a refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen. When reheating the stew, add some newly made gravy to return the stew to it’s original consistency.