Irish Stew with Parsley Dumplings

I don't make any claims about this so far as its Irish authenticity is concerned, but it does taste very good.

Serves 4

This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course and Delia Smith's Complete Illustrated Cookery Course.

Irish Stew with Parsley Dumplings
 2½ lb (1.1 kg) lean middle neck and scrag of lamb or mutton
 2 level tablespoons plain flour seasoned with salt and freshly milled black pepper
 12 oz (350 g) onions, sliced
 8 oz (225 g) carrots, sliced
 2 medium leeks, washed and sliced
 1 large potato, peeled and sliced
 1 level tablespoon pearl barley
 about 2 pints (1.25 litres) hot water
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
For the dumplings:
 1 level tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
 4 oz (110 g) self-raising flour
 pinch of salt
 freshly milled black pepper
 2 oz (50 g) shredded suet


First wipe the pieces of meat and cut away excess fat, then dip them in the seasoned flour. Now put a layer of meat in the bottom of a large saucepan, followed by some onion, carrot, leek and potato, then season with salt and pepper. Then put in some more meat and continue layering the ingredients until everything is in. Now sprinkle in the pearl barley followed by about 2 pints (1.25 litres) hot water and bring to simmering point. Spoon off any scum that rises to the surface, then cover the pan with a well-fitting lid and leave to simmer over a low heat for about 2 hours.

About 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time, make the dumplings. Mix the flour, the salt and pepper and the parsley in a bowl. Then mix in the suet – but it mustn't be rubbed in. Add just sufficient cold water to make a fairly stiff but elastic dough that leaves the bowl clean. Shape it into 8 dumplings.

When the stew is ready, remove the meat and vegetables with a slotted spoon on to a large warm serving dish. Cover with foil and keep warm. Season the liquid to taste, then bring to a brisk boil. Put the dumplings in, cover and cook them for 20-25 minutes, making sure that they don't come off the boil. Serve the meat surrounded by the vegetables and dumplings, with some of the liquid poured over and some in a gravy boat.

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