When you make it yourself, you make it special. So be a craftsman of your own mouthwatering masterpiece and give it a big dollop of Branston.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 25g (1oz) butter
- 750g (1lb 10oz) beef stewing steak, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 150g (6oz) baby onions, peeled
- 150g (6oz) celery, cut into large chunks
- 150g (6oz) baby carrots
- 2 leeks, roughly chopped
- 200g (8oz) swede, cut into large chunks
- 150ml (5fl oz) red wine
- 500ml (18fl oz) beef stock
- 2 tbsp Branston Original Pickle
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 3 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
- Worcestershire sauce, to taste
- 1 tbsp Sarson's balsamic vinegar, or to taste
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 200g (8oz) self raising flour, plus extra for dusting
- 100g (4oz) butter
- 50g (2oz) Pilgrims Choice mature cheddar, grated
- Handful of fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Heat the oil and butter in an ovenproof casserole and fry the beef until browned on all sides. Sprinkle over the flour and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and all the vegetables and fry for 1-2 minutes.
Stir in the wine, stock, Branston Original Pickle and herbs, and then add the Worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar, to taste. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover with a lid, transfer to the oven and cook for about two hours, or until the meat is tender.
While the stew is cooking make the dumplings. Put the flour into a bowl and season with salt and pepper, add the butter and rub in using the fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir through the cheddar and thyme, then approx 1-2 tbsp cold water a little at a time until the mixture forms a stiff dough. With floured hands, roll spoonfuls of the dough into small balls.
After 1 hr 30 mins, remove the lid from the stew and place the balls on top of the stew. Cover, return to the oven and cook for a further 30 minutes, or until the dumplings have swollen and are tender. (If you prefer your dumplings with a golden top, leave the lid off when returning to the oven.) Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.
Cooking time 2 hrs, 30 mins