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READY IN 2 hrs
50 mins
Marita's Beef Stew and Herb Dumplings Recipe

Marita's Beef Stew and Herb Dumplings

Rating 4-0 out of 5 - Most cooks definitely will make this recipe again

Recipe by  

Marita's Beef Stew and Herb Dumplings is so called because my ex-wife, Marita, frequently used to have her leg pulled by myself and the kids over her beef stew with dumplings. Not that there was anything wrong with it - quite the opposite - but 8 times a week was maybe overdoing a good thing!! So now, whenever I think of stew and dumplings, I think (fondly) of Marita whose culinary repertoire has, I gather, expanded somewhat since her early days as a wife and mother!

This recipe requires shredded suet which is raw beef or mutton fat, especially the hard fat found around the loins and kidneys and is a very British tradition (a vegetarian version now exists). Suet is required for traditional British steamed puddings, and in the pastry for steak and kidney pudding (but not pie). Suet pastry is soft in contrast to the crispness of shortcrust pastry.

      Preparation Time: 20 Minutes

      Cooking Time: 2 Hours 30 Minutes

Ingredients for Marita's Beef Stew and Herb Dumplings

If you are not familiar with any ingredients, please check our International Cooking Terms page.
US Imperial Measurements  UK Imperial Measurements  Metric Measurements

Currently displaying quantities in US Imperial Measurements
to serve 4:
1¾ lb
beef shin or good quality stewing steak
2 tablespoons
duck or goose fat
2 tablespoons
plain flour (all-purpose flour)
1 level tablespoons
English mustard powder
3 medium
1¾ pints
beef stock
swedes (rutabagas, yellow turnip or neep)
2 sticks
bay leaves
salt and pepper
4½ oz
self-raising flour (self-rising flour)
1 teaspoon
baking powder
2 oz
shredded suet
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon
dried mixed herbs


How to Cook Marita's Beef Stew and Herb Dumplings

  1. Peel and dice the onions, peel the carrots and cut into large chunks (about 4 chunks per carrot), peel and cube the turnips (or swedes) and finely dice the celery.
  2. Stewing steak is a cheaper cut of meat, but try and get decent quality without too much gristle or fat. Carefully remove any remaining gristle and fat and trim the beef into 1½" (4cm) cubes. Spoon one tablespoon of the flour in to a mixing bowl and add the mustard powder. Add the meat cubes, completely coating them with the seasoning. (Add more flour and mustard if required)
  3. Heat the duck fat in a pan (you can use goose fat or beef dripping or vegetable oil if you prefer, but duck fat is actually more healthy and tastes better) and brown the beef quickly on all sides. Add the diced onions and stir until both the meat and the onions take on a good colour. Season with salt and freshly-ground black pepper and stir in the second tablespoon of plain flour. Stir in the stock and bring to the boil. Season again to taste, cover and gently simmer for one hour. Add the carrots, celery, turnips (swedes) and bay leaves and simmer very gently (covered) for a further one hour.
  4. As the stew approaches readiness, prepare the dumplings... sieve the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl and using your hands, mix in the suet, salt, freshly-ground black pepper and mixed herbs. Slowly add 3 tablespoons of water to the mix to create a soft, but not sticky dough. If you overdo it, add a little extra flour to dry it out a bit.
  5. Lightly flour your hands and roll the dough into eight small balls. Lower them carefully into the stew, cover the pot again, and cook for a further 15 - 20 minutes. Your dumplings should be plump and moist and cooked all the way through. I personally prefer my dumplings a little crusty on the top, so I leave the pan lid off for this last 15-20 minutes.

  6. Serve hot with Creamed Potatoes ... they help soak up that delicious gravy.

The English mustard powder in the beef coating is not absolutely essential, but does add a gentle warmth to the meat. Coleman's English mustard (both powder and ready-mixed) is generally available worldwide.
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Reviews of Marita's Beef Stew and Herb Dumplings

Rating 4 out of 5 - Many cooks will make this recipe again August 04 2014
I have made this stew many times. I am not typically a beef eater, but actually love this stew! However, I slow cook it for at least 6 hours doing the dumplings right at the end. The beef is fall-apart tender! YUM!
(3 reviews)
Rating 4 out of 5 - Many cooks will make this recipe again April 10 2014
After many years of marriage, I have just discovered I have a *knack* for making beef stew with dumplings! This lovely recipe makes a ton of food and it threw me back to my childhood when my mom used to make dumplings. This is a keeper both with the dumplings and without. It is super easy, and very tasty. All my family love it.
(6 reviews)

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