Recipes for Main Courses

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Recipes for Main Courses

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96% positive

303 reviews from the community

Review of "Recipes for Main Courses"

published 03/12/2003 | Sally3
Member since : 30/11/-0001
Reviews : 14
Members who trust : 0
About me :
Pro Tasty, filling, aromatic and "homely"
Cons Not for vegetarians I'm afraid
very helpful

"Our Sal's got her Dumplings in a Right Good Stew"

Twenty years of southern living can’t quite banish the original Yorkshire tyke in me, and on these cold winter evenings "there’s nowt better than a right good stew for us tea".

A couple of my new Ciao mates asked for this recipe after I mentioned the stew in my AAM op. I was about to email it to each of them when I noticed this delish-looking category on the menu in the Ciao Café. Being the mutton-head that I am, I was a bit slow on the uptake – I now realise this is the place to share our recipes!

So here’s my contribution. This is grub that will warm the cockles of the iciest heart and, by a sliver, holds the number one spot in my All Time Favourite Food chart.

A Word Before We Start…
I’ve always made this in the slo-cooker because I find that the long, low simmering tenderises the meat beautifully. You can also prepare the meal in the morning and forget about it until it's almost ready. Most slo-cookers work in a similar way, but check the instructions for your particular model. You can, of course, cook the stew in a conventional oven or on the hob so I’ll give instructions for those ways too.

Although the recipe contains ale (again, this helps tenderise the meat), the alcohol content evaporates during cooking so it’s quite safe to give to children. Alternatively, you could omit the ale, make the most of it yourself while it still has an alcohol content (hic) and add a little extra stock instead.

Serves 4.

Costs approximately £6.75.

Cooking Times
Slo-cooker (2.5litre – 3.5litre capacity): Low: 7 – 10hrs. High: 4 – 6 hrs.

Oven (170 deg. C/325 deg. F/gas mark 3): 2hrs 30mins

Hob (very low heat): 2hrs

Ingredients for the Stew
30ml (2tbsp) vegetable oil
30ml (2tbsp) flour
salt and pepper
800g (1lb12oz) stewing steak, cubed
4 rashers lean bacon, chopped
2 large onions, sliced
3 medium carrots, sliced
300ml (10 fl oz) brown ale
150ml (5 fl oz) beef stock
15ml (1tbsp) tomato puree
5ml (1tsp) French mustard
1 bouquet garni

Ingredients for the Dumplings
100g (4oz) self-raising flour
2.5ml (half tsp) salt
50g (2oz) shredded suet
15ml (1tbsp) dried mixed herbs
90ml (6tbsp) cold water

Cooking Instructions
1. If using a slo-cooker, preheat according to manufacturer’s guidelines. If using a conventional oven, preheat to the temperature stipulated above.
2. Put the flour in a shallow dish and season with the salt and pepper. Toss the stewing steak in the flour, coating all sides.
3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the meat for a few minutes until brown.
4. Add the bacon, onions, carrots and any remaining flour, and fry for a further 2 minutes.
5. Pour in the ale and stock, stir and bring to the boil.
6. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Season further with salt and pepper if desired.
7. For slo-cooking, transfer to the pot and pop on the lid. Do not remove lid during cooking!
If using an oven, pour the ingredients from the frying pan into a large ovenproof casserole dish, cover and place in the oven on the middle shelf.
If you want to keep the stew on the hob, put it into a large pan with a tight-fitting lid and simmer very gently.
NB: You may need to top up the stew with stock if you’re cooking it on the hob – check it every 30 minutes or so to make sure it hasn’t dried out.
8. Now you can make the dumplings. Combine all the dry ingredients then add the water slowly, mixing to a soft dough.
9. Using floured hands, shape the dough into 8 balls. Wrap in clingfilm and keep in the fridge until needed.
10. In a slo-cooker, add the dumplings an hour before the end of the cooking time making sure you set the temperature onto HIGH, and replace the lid.
If you’re using an oven, add the dumplings 45 minutes before the end of cooking and re-cover. For the hob, add the dumplings 25 minutes before cooking finishes, and again, replace the lid.

This dish is really a complete meal in itself, but my lot like their comfort food in abundance, so I usually serve this dish with creamy mash, and green vegetables such as beans or broccoli. Don’t forget to remove the bouquet garni….or you’ll get complaints from someone who thinks they’ve got a teabag on their plate!

The Taste
One of the joys of cooking stews is that a gorgeous aroma fills the kitchen; I can only describe it as hearty and welcoming. By the time you’re ready to dish up, everyone should be positively salivating. It’s worth waiting for too – you’ll find the meat almost falls apart on the fork because it’s so tender, yet the vegetables retain their texture. The stew tastes succulent and the dumplings are light with the subtle taste of the herbs coming through.

A good portion of this should leave anyone feeling warm, contented and satisfied.


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Comments on this review

  • MAFARRIMOND published 02/10/2007
    Mmm sounds very tasty. Maureen x x
  • BIG_NANNA published 11/01/2007
    Perfect duplings really do make a stew extra tasty and most filling. Lip licking and luscious recipe
  • funkyjo published 04/10/2006
    Great recipe, i used it last year and lost it, so glad i found it again. The best ive ever tasted!! Thankyou
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Product Information : Recipes for Main Courses

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Listed on Ciao since: 16/11/2001