How to make a stew

Given this is the season to eat it, and Wendy has been asking how to make dumplings, what about Stew??

How do you make yours?

It is an intensely regional thing in the UK and always was a subject of debate among my mother's friends when I was young.

"Well, I make mine like this" was always a gossip topic over a cuppa during the winter months.

Mine is very simple.

In a large pot I add the following:

Stewing beef pieces

Onions, Carrots, swede, turnips and or parsnips.

Salt and pepper


Dumplings - 100g flour, 50g suet, salt and pepper and water to bind.

I cover all the ingredients EXCEPT the potatoes with water and bring to the boil, skimming any off the meat scum that rises to the surface.

I reduce the heat and gently boil for about 3 hours.

About half an hour before the end of the cooking time, I gently bring the potatoes to boil and cook for about 15-20 minutes. I drain them and gently add them to the stew just prior to serving.

Likewise I make a dumpling paste of half fat to flour , salt pepper and enough water to form into small balls and add these to the stew about 20 minutes before serving - 100g of flour is usually what I use.

I think the biggest point of debate is that I serve is with the cooking liquor which is very thin - some people like it thicker - it's all a matter of personal taste.

So, how do you cook yours????

hi Helene

Being as I am from liverpool and our national dish is scouse the above recipe is almost the same as scouse excep no parsnips and the veg has to be cut into cubes the size of an oxo minimum and the dumpling should be the size of your fist and then serve it wih plenty of beetroot and if the beetroot is from a jar lashings of beetroot juice mmmm I have made myself both hungry and nostaligly homesick... ah its a bummer but I'll have to make do with this giant magret de canard for tonight ....

Sounds wonderful - a good way of getting a thicker gravy than the one I posted - it's surprising how many variations there are for this dish.

Also, the left overs would be ideal for a pie the next day - my version would need to thickened if I wanted to do that. Thanks for adding this!

I coat the meat with flour, dry mustard powder, S & P, then fry it first. Then I add onions, carrots etc, a splash of red wine, water, stock cube and or marmite and a dash of tomato ketchup, stick it in the oven on low for most of the afternoon.

Potatoes and dumplings added at the last minute but this method produces a lovely thick sauce as my husband reckons you need to be able to slice the gravy in a stew!

The potatoes cook a lot quicker than the meat, and unlike the other veg, they tend to break up and go a bit mushy.

The beef to buy is the pieces for "bourguignon" - on sale everywhere. Cut the pieces a bit smaller though.

You can add an oxo cube as well if you want.