This casserole may take a while to cook, but it’s a real treat! It’s a little harder than my sausage casserole from last year (link), so you might want to check you’re familiar with the different techniques, which are all linked in the recipe below.
You will need:
- a sharp knife
- a chopping board
- an oven-proof dish
- a measuring jug
- a kettle
- an oven
- oven gloves
- a mixing bowl
- a couple of spoons
and the ingredients (for four people):
- 1lb/500g beef (something like braising steak)
- dried sage
- garlic powder
- 4 medium carrots (about the length of your hand)
- 1 big leek
- 1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes
- 1 parsnip
- frozen spinach
- 1 pint/500ml beer or beef stock
- 4oz/100g self-raising flour (or plain flour and baking powder)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1tsp dried sage
- 2oz/50g suet
Start by turning on your oven to Gas Mark 3, 160°C.
Chop your beef into cubes about 2 inches (2.5cm) on each side. If you like your meat browned, dry fry the beef with a sprinkle of dried sage & garlic.
Using clean hands and utensils, chop your carrots into chunks (link). Add your carrots and beer (or stock) to the oven-proof dish. (I love the flavour of beer in this casserole, but not quite all of the alcohol evaporates during cooking. So if for whatever reason you prefer not to use alcohol, use stock instead.)
Put your dish into the oven. (Don’t forget the lid!) It will take about three hours to cook from this point.
While your meat and carrots are cooking, chop your leeks (link), sweet potato (link), and parsnip (link) into chunks. After an hour and a half, add them to the casserole.
While the casserole continues to cook, make your dumplings. I wrote a detailed method last week (which you can find here), but basically mix together flour, salt, dried sage, and suet, then add water to form a smooth dough that comes away from the bowl easily. Shape this dough into eight round dumplings.
Half an hour before serving, add your frozen spinach (if using) and your dumplings.
Once the dumplings are cooked, the casserole is ready to serve!
This beef casserole is definitely not an everyday dish, but if you’re after a warming dish on a rainy day you can’t really do much better! You can of course use potatoes instead of dumplings if you like (add them at the beginning), or any other root veg you fancy! And for a veggie version, try using red kidney beans instead of beef.