Old-fashioned Shin of Beef Stew with Butter Beans and Crusted Onion Dumplings
The good old-fashioned family stew - meat and vegetables simmering gently and slowly together, and in this slowness, releasing precious juices that mingle to provide intense yet mellow flavours and the tenderest of textures.
Let's not be duped into thinking we don't have the time. This stew actually takes very little time - you'll be amazed. The time it does take is not yours. Tucked away in the oven, it will leave you free to go out for a couple of hours if you want to, ready to greet you with evocative, comforting aromas when you come home. I have included some dumplings in this recipe (because I like them!), but even without them it's perfectly good.
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This recipe is from Delia's Complete How to Cook. Serves 6
Start off by placing the flour into a large bowl and seasoning it with 1½ teaspoons of salt and freshly milled black pepper.
Now dip each chunk of meat into it to get a good coating, then transfer them to a plate. Next, prepare the vegetables. Use a potatoe peeler to pare the worst of the stringly bits from the celery, then cut it in to 5cm chunks. Peel the carrots and swede and cut them into similar size chunks. Lastly peel the onions but leave them whole. Now toss them all in the remaining flour and transfer them, along with the meat and the beans, to the casserole, layering the ingredients alternately and sprinkle in any flour still in the bowl. Add the thyme and bay leaves, seaosn with salt and freshly milled black pepper, then pour in the cider, plus the Worcestershire sauce. Put the casserole on the hob and bring it up to a gentle simmer, before covering with the lid, placing a sheet of kitchen foil under it to ensure a tight seal. After that, place it on the middle shelf of the oven to cook for 4½ hours.
After this time, remove the casserole from the oven, set it aside, turn the oven temperature up to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C) and make the dumplings.
Fry the onion in the oil until brown and caramelised, then allow to cool. After that, sift the flour, mustard powder and a little salt together, then add the suet, chives and onion, and season with freshly milled black pepper and a bit more salt. Now sprinkle the water over all the ingredients and then, using first a knife and finally your hands, bring it together to form a soft dough, adding a little more water if you need to.
Next, transfer the dough to a flat, lightly floured surface, divide it into 12 portions and roll each one into a little round, using the palms of your hands. Add them to the casserole so that a part of each one can be seen just above the surface of the stew. Return the casserole to the top shelf of the oven and cook, without a lid, for a futher 25-30 minutes, until the dumplings are golden brown and crusty.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 1, 275F, 140C
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