This is a classic British dish which is a total meal in itself. You’ve got the meat, the vegetables and the dumplings all in one dish. The chestnuts are optional but I really enjoy the nutty taste they give the dish.
Season the meat with salt and pepper and fry in the beef dripping until brown. Leave to drain in a colander. Meanwhile, in a large flameproof casserole, sweat the diced onions, garlic and thyme in the butter for a few minutes until soft. Add the red wine and boil until reduced by two-thirds. Add the jus, bring to the boil, and add the steak. Cover and leave to simmer gently for 1½ hours.
Cut the carrots, celery and potatoes into large dice and add them to the stew with the whole button mushrooms and tomato purée. Continue to cook for another 15–20 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Check for seasoning.
Meanwhile, make the dumplings. Sweat the chopped onion, bacon and thyme in the butter until soft. Add the chopped chestnuts, if using, then allow the mixture to cool.
Mix together the flour, baking powder and suet. Add
© 1994 Gary Rhodes. All rights reserved.