Hearty Beef Casserole with Dumplings

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As I sit in front of the computer writing this, I’m thinking of all the ways that I can keep warm. Our office has a lovely view, but on a cold wet winter’s day it is feeling rather chilly when it’s only 10deg C. It’s time to get into the kitchen and cook dinner! Before I do, I am going to share with you a recipe that will warms the cockles of your heart.

It has been rather an eventful week so far for my daughter Jennifer. There was a bomb scare at her school yesterday, and all the students were evacuated on to the field. After 3 hours the school management and police told the students and teachers it was safe to return to class. For some students that meant sitting exams. You can imagine how hard it would be to concentrate doing exams after the morning’s events. This morning Jennifer was out cycling training and was caught in heavy rain, plus hail showers! I arrived home today, after school to find her eating some left over lasagne. I think food brings normality into life. There is nothing more satisfying than a hot snack to warm us up on a cold winter’s day. Hash browns, sausage rolls, soup with hot bread are some of my favourite hot snacks.

We all love the satisfaction from eating flavoursome comfort food. Over the winter months, I hope to bring back the warmth to your kitchen so your family and friends can try some new flavours. Let me know the recipes you enjoy!

I have been making this casserole for quite a few years, extracted from the Australian Women’s Weekly Library Series. Two year ago I decided to add dumplings to the recipe, thanks to the Food(town) Magazine. As usual I wanted to try something different, and Jennifer said I don’t like dumplings.  (I have a feeling she was thinking of the Asian variety).  I was one, not to be put off by this comment, and  Jennifer made the dumplings for me. She has been hooked ever since.

HEARTY BEEF CASSEROLE WITH DUMPLINGS

Serves 6 – 8

2 tbsp oil

2 kg beef chuck steak, diced

2 medium onions

3 cloves garlic, crushed

¼ cup tomato paste

2 tsp French mustard

1 cup red wine

1 cup beef stock

DUMPLINGS

1 cup self raising flour

Pinch salt

50g butter, cubed

1 tbsp finely chopped parsley

1 tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese

1/3 cup water

Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole dish, brown the beef in batches on a high heat.  Set aside in a separate dish.   Add onions to the casserole dish and cook on a medium heat until are soft, stirring from time to time.

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Add garlic, stir fry for 1 minute.  Add tomato paste, French mustard and stir for a few seconds. Return beef to casserole dish and add wine and beef stock. (Red wine can be substituted with additional beef stock).Bring to boil, cover and cook in a slow oven (160deg C) until beef is tender, approximately 1 ¾ hours.

After 1 ½ prepare the dumplings as follows:

Place flour, salt and butter in a food processor and pulse until mixture is like breadcrumbs.  Transfer mixture to a bowl, then stir in parsley and parmesan cheese.  Use a knife to mix in enough water to make a soft dough.  Form the dough into 8 even sized balls. Add to the casserole, cover again and cook for 15-20 minutes.

You can serve with healthy green vegetables.  If you wish to omit the dumplings serve with cooked rice.

So simple to do, and ready to eat when the family is ready.

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