Irish stew with herby dumplings recipe

This hearty Irish stew with dumplings is great for big gatherings, or small ones with lots of leftovers

Serves 8


  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 500g shallots or button onions, peeled
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 4 carrots, cut into 2.5cm pieces
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 65g plain flour
  • 1.5kg grass-fed chuck steak or grass-fed braising steak*, cut into 6-7cm chunks
  • 75g butter
  • 1 litre Irish stout
  • 300ml beef stock
  • The leaves from 3 large sprigs thyme
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • 4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, wiped clean and left whole
  • 250g field mushrooms, wiped clean and thickly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the herby dumplings

  • 100g self-raising flour
  • Large pinch of baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 50g shredded beef suet
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs thyme
  • Approx. 100ml cold water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large flameproof casserole. Add the shallots or small onions and fry until they are nicely browned all over. Set aside on a plate. Add the onion, carrots and sugar and fry until nicely browned. Set aside with the shallots.

  2. Put the flour into a large bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Add the beef and toss together well. Heat another 2 tablespoons of oil in the casserole and fry the beef in batches until nicely browned on all sides. Set each batch aside with the vegetables as it browns.

  3. Add 25g of the butter to the casserole and stir in the remaining seasoned flour from the bowl. Gradually stir in the stout, rubbing the base of the pan to release all the caramelised juices. Stir in the stock, followed by the beef and vegetables, thyme leaves, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce and some seasoning. Bring to the boil, part-cover and leave to simmer very slowly on the top of the stove for 1½ hours.

  4. Melt the remaining butter in a large frying pan, add the mushrooms and fry briskly for 2 minutes. Stir them into the casserole, part-cover, and simmer for another 1 hour until the beef is tender.

  5. For the dumplings, sieve the flour, baking powder, salt and a little pepper into a bowl and stir in the suet and thyme leaves. Stir in enough cold water to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. Using a spoon, divide the dough into pieces and drop onto the top of the simmering stew 25 minutes before the end of cooking. Cover and leave to cook until fluffed up and cooked through. A fine skewer, pushed into centre of a dumpling, should come out clean.

Recipe from Bord Bia (the Irish Food Board)


Average rating: 3.5/5
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Wednesday 09 March 2011
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