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History Cookbook: Beef Stew with Dumplings

This recipe is in categories Victorians, Main courses
About this recipe
Healthiness : (356 votes)
Difficulty:  3 out of 5 difficulty
Preparation Time: 15-20 minutes, some of this preparation is to make the dumplings as the stew cooks.
Cooking Time: 10 minutes browning, 40 minutes to cook the stew.
Number of servings: 6-8 portions
Serving suggestions: Serve with seasonal vegetables

Stews were a good way of using cheaper cuts of meat. A small amount of meat can be bulked out with whatever vegetables are in season. This version of a beef stew has dumplings but the stew could also be served with potatoes or bread. Dumplings are filling and were traditionally served with beef stew.
  • 1 lb (450g) stewing beef, diced
  • 2-3 tbsp seasoned flour
  • 3 turnips
  • 2 onions
  • 2-4 carrots
  • 2 parsnips
  • 1 pint beef stock


  • 1 pinch mace
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp mint
  • 1-2 tsp parsley (dried for stew)

For the Dumplings: 

  • 100g (4oz) self-raising flour
  • 50g (2oz) shredded suet
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) salt 
  • a little water 
  • a tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley or a generous teaspoon of dried parsley can be added to the dumplings
  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • Measuring jug
  • Weighing scales
  • Tablespoon
  • Teaspoon
  • Deep pan
  • Dish
  • Wooden spoon
Making and cooking it
Always wash your hands before preparing food Always wash your hands before preparing food.

  1. Season some flour with salt and pepper
  2. Toss the diced beef in the flour. (You can miss this step and brown the meat with no flour but your finished stew will be thinner)
  3. Brown the beef in a deep pan
  4. Chop and add the onions and herbs if you are using them
  5. Soften the onions
  6. Add the stock and stir well
  7. Peel and chop the carrots and parsnips. Add them
  8. Bring the pan to the boil so the flour thickens the stew.
  9. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes. (For cheaper cuts you may need to simmer for longer)
  10. While the stew is cooking, you need to make the dumplings
  11. Add the flour, salt and suet into a dish
  12. Add the chopped parsley, if you are using any
  13. Add a little water, a tablespoon at a time, stirring until you have a slightly sticky dough
  14. Divide into 4-6 even pieces
  15. 20 minutes before the stew is ready, remove the lid and add the dumplings
  16. Push the dumplings under with a spoon and then re-cover. It is important to leave the pan covered or the dumplings won't cook properly
  17. After 20 minutes remove the lid and serve hot
Beef Stew with Dumplings - print view  Beef Stew with Dumplings - print view

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Name: Emma 5th January 2019
I often make Beef Stew with Dumplings (in fact we are having it tomorrow ๐Ÿ˜‚). I grew up on it living with my grandparents, and now itโ€™s my 6yoโ€™s absolute favourite meal! I do mine in the slow cooker though. Always comes out delicious ๐Ÿ˜‹
Name: Jo 26th June 2016
If you use a pressure cooker even very cheap cuts of meat become wonderfully tender. I do however tend to cook the meat, onions, garlic and herbs for a while before adding the carrots etc., to avoid them becoming mushy.
Name: Marko 10th June 2012
Hi,Being from right near the garlic caitpal of the world I am tempted to advise adding more garlic and calling it Garlic Stew with Beef.Since it is a stew and I assume it will cook for some time it should be no problem. If you simmer the stew for an hour the garlic flavor will soften considerably.You can also add a handful of chopped parsley. There is a chemical in the parsley that mutes the garlic flavor. In French cooking a Persillade is garlic chopped with parsley and served raw as a flavoring.
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