Rich beef stew with herby dumplings slow cooker recipe

I have been in the process of emptying out my freezers (yes there are only 2 people in my house and we have 2 freezers). I am preparing slowly for the upcoming move and that means using up everything possible in the pantry and freezer. I found some mystery meat in the freezer, beef rib trim. Only a mystery to me as I had never cooked with it. It is a tougher cut of meat, quite inexpensive, that likes to be cooked low and slow.

Beef stew - Steph Loves Cake


Great! I am using my slow cooker nearly every other day now, and I needed a lovely warming meal to feed the hubby who had been away for work and had eaten quite poorly. I always like to have a healthy hearty meal for him when he gets back from travelling with loads of vegetables. Beef stew was at the top of my list. I had high hopes that there would be enough left over that we could make a cottage pie, however it was the best stew I have ever made so it never made it to pie.

Beef stew - Steph Loves Cake

I usually make a batch of stew that is enough to feed an army. There are certain recipes that I don’t know how to make small, usually. Stew and lasagna. Luckily, I only had about half a kilo of meat, so it made enough for two large portions and two, ahem, lady sized portions.

This stew is rich, and as it cooks really thickened nicely. I cut the bacon into small pieces and cooked until they turned brown and then put them straight in the slow cooker along with the shallots. I coated the beef lightly in flour and browned it in the same frying pan I had cooked the bacon in just to sear the meat, then put it straight in the slow cooker. I literally then put all other ingredients in and left to cook all day.  I usually taste the stew once the meat is totally cooked just to see what seasonings I need to add. I season towards the end and sometimes add in a final spoonful of tomato paste or a crumbled stock cube to add a bit more oomph. This cut of meat meant that I did not need to thicken the stew, however if you use a different cut of meat, just stir in a bit of cornflour/cornstarch near the end into a bowl with some of the stew liquid and whisk it in and then add the lump free mix into the slow cooker to thicken things up.

Beef stew with herby dumplings  - Steph Loves Cake

For the wine, use a manly meaty red wine. I used chateauneuf du pape as that is all I had in the house, but I would usually use something a bit more thrifty. Use whatever you have, it needn’t be expensive, but it should be a bit bold. I made the dumplings on the first day we had stew and stored the remaining dumplings in the fridge and used them a day later and they turned out just as well as the first night.

At the end I served the stew with some steamed red cabbage, with a bit of butter stirred into the stew and cabbage. This is a rich satisfying stew that makes you feel quite warm and snuggly inside, and is a great rainy day meal.


Rich beef stew with herby dumplings


    For the Stew:
  • 500 g Beef Rib Trim
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 5 rashers/ smoked streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 4 shallots, chopped
  • 200g mushrooms, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 5 large carrots peeled and cut into 2” chunks
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 1 cup red wine, nothing sweet
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 Beef stock cube
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 dashes maggi seasoning sauce (optional)
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs Parsley (finely chopped)
  • For the Dumplings:
  • 250g flour
  • 125g cold unsalted butter cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped
  • ½ clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup Parmesan, finely grated
  • 100ml milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Makes about 10 dumplings


    For the Stew:
  1. Put the flour, pepper and beef in a resealable bag and shake until the beef is well coated.
  2. Chop the bacon and fry off until lightly browned and put the bacon in the crockpot with the chopped shallots.
  3. Seal the beef in the same pan the bacon was cooked in until browned on all sides, then put in the slow cooker
  4. Add the carrots, celery, mushrooms, stock, tomato paste, wine, stock cube, maggi, herbs and allow the ingredients to cook on high until the liquid starts to boil. Turn the slow cooker to low and cook for about 8 hours. When the beef falls apart and the carrots are fork tender, the stew is ready to serve.
  5. For the Dumplings
  6. To make the dumplings mix the butter, flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, herbs, garlic and parmesan in a bowl and mix either by hand or with a hand mixer until the dough resembles breadcrumbs.
  7. Stir in the milk until well mixed.
  8. Form into golf ball sized dumplings.
  9. To cook the dumplings, put them gently on top of the stew and cover again and cook for 10 minutes until cooked through and puffed up.