Slow cooker beef and ale casserole
Tender chunks of beef with cheesy dumplings… You can’t go wrong with this hearty slow cooker beef casserole!
Serves: 4 – 6 people
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 5 hours 30 mins
50g plain flour
1.2kg chuck, stewing or casserole beef steak, trimmed and cut into 5cm (2in) chunks
4 tbsp. olive oil
2 large onions, sliced
250 ml (9 fl oz) beef stock
500 ml (17 fl 0z) ale
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh thyme
200g button mushrooms, halved if large
2 large carrots, cut into 5cm (2in) chunks
For the dumplings:
100g plain flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped, plus extra to garnish
1 tsp. fresh thyme, leaves picked
50g extra mature Cheddar cheese, grated
♦ Put the flour in a large mixing bowl and season. Toss a third of the beef in flour to coat, shaking off excess. Heat 1tbsp oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Fry meat until browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon to the slow cooker after each batch. Repeat with the remaining meat using 1tbsp oil each time. Add the stock to the pan, scraping up brown bits.
♦ Pour the stock into the slow cooker slowly and mix well with the beef. Mix in the onions, ale, bay leaf and thyme. Finally stir in the mushrooms and carrots and season. Cover with a lid and cook on high for 4hr.
♦ Meanwhile, make dumplings. Mix all ingredients, apart from cheese, in a bowl with plenty of seasoning, or pulse in a food processor until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add cheese and mix in to form larger flakes, then sprinkle over 1–2tbsp water to bring the dough together. Roll into 6 balls and dot around stew leaving a 2cm (¾in) gap between them. Cover again with the lid and cook for a further 1hr.
♦ Season again if needed, sprinkle over extra parsley, if you like, and serve.