James Martin's beef stew with dumplings is a classic, hearty dish.
James Martin – the king of weekend breakfast TV, known for his no-nonsense Yorkshire attitude – has perfected this classic slow-cooked beef stew. It will take close to four hours to make but the good news is that the prep time is only 20 mins, so it’s a great meal to put on the hob late on a Sunday morning and then get on with your day, until the beef is nice and tender. James Martin’s casserole uses red wine and beef stock which adds a rich flavour. Never made dumplings before? This recipe will help you perfect fluffy little dumplings, every time.
- 500g stewing beef
- 50g plain flour
- 4tbsp beef dripping or oil
- 100g celery
- 100g carrot
- 1 large leek
- 3 garlic cloves
- 150g whole baby onions
- 150ml red wine
- 500ml beef stock
- 3tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- Sea salt and freshly ground
- Black pepper
- For the dumplings:
- 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1½tsp baking powder
- A good pinch of salt
- 75g shredded suet
Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas Mark 3. Toss the beef and flour together in a bowl with salt and pepper. Heat a large flameproof casserole dish until hot, add a little dripping or oil and enough of the beef to just cover the bottom of the casserole. Fry until browned on each side, then remove and set aside. Repeat with more dripping and beef in batches.
Meanwhile, cut the celery, carrot and leek into 2.5cm pieces and roughly chop the garlic. Add the last of the dripping and the onions, garlic, celery, carrot and leek, then cook gently for 5–10 minutes, until softened and lightly coloured. Return the beef to the casserole and add the red wine. Simmer until reduced by half, then add the beef stock and bring back to a simmer. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for 2 hours.
To make the dumplings, mix the flour, baking powder, salt and suet in a bowl and gradually add 3–5 tablespoons water, just enough to form a slightly sticky dough. Dust your hands with a little flour and roll the dough into small balls about the size of a ping-pong ball, then set aside.
After 2 hours, remove the stew from the oven and carefully place the dumplings on top. Return to the oven for 20 minutes, uncovered, until the dumplings have cooked through and turned light golden brown. Roughly chop the parsley and sprinkle over the stew to serve.
Top tip for making James Martin’s beef stew with dumplings
James says: 'Browning the meat well is very important when making stews like this, so brown it in batches in a hot pan to make sure it doesn’t braise. The meat should also be cut into decent-sized pieces, otherwise they’ll cook too quickly.'
Top tips for making James Martin's beef stew with dumplings
In order to get tender beef, you’ll need to make sure there is plenty of liquid to be absorbed– and don't rush things. Simmering and cooking the beef for longer means the meat will be more likely to fall off the bone.
If you want it to be even richer in flavour and texture, we’d recommend adding caramelised onions to the mix; these will give it a thick consistency as well as deep flavour too. Equally, you could opting for roasted garlic instead of fresh.
If your beef stew is a little watery and needs to thicken up you could add a few tablespoons of gravy. Just don't go overboard, as it will become quite salty.
For a twist, this dish is just as lovely with lamb.