Traditional beef casserole recipe

This is a simple but delicious winter-warming casserole and it freezes brilliantly. If you really want to save time you can even get your onions and carrots ready prepared from the supermarket.

Ingredients Serves 6 - 8

1kg/2lb Braising/stewing beef, cubed

3 Medium onions, peeled and sliced

3 Large carrots, peeled and chopped

A bay leaf

Salt and pepper

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Glug of red wine – optional

Gravy browning powder, or beef gravy granules

Ingredients - Dumplings

225g/8oz Self-raising flour

112g/4oz Suet

Pinch of salt

2 Teaspoons of horseradish sauce, or English mustard, optional

handful of chopped, fresh parsley, optional


1. Pre-heat the oven to 180c/gas mark 4 then place the braising beef into a large casserole dish. Sprinkle seasoning over the meat, put the bay leaf on top and scatter the onions and carrots over the meat.

2. Pour over cold water so it is just covering the ingredients, and mix in the glug of red wine, if you are using.

3. Cook, covered at 180c/gas mark for about 30 minutes, then lower heat to around 140c/gas mark 1, and continue to cook for 3-4hours, until the meat is really tender, and it splits to the touch of a fork. Remove the bay leaf and discard.

4. Once the meat is cooked either make a small quantity of gravy powder, as per the packet instructions, and mix into the meat, or sprinkle gravy granules directly over the casserole, stirring briskly to prevent them clumping; the heat from the water will thicken the gravy within a minute or so of stirring.

5. If you are making the dumplings, turn the oven up to 200c/gas mark 6 now, and put the lidded casserole back in the oven, the gravy needs to be bubbling when you place the dumplings in it.

To make the dumplings, mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Add about 4 tablespoons of cold water, and mix until you have a fairly damp dough, still a bit ‘sticky’. Drop ‘blobs’ of the mixture into the hot gravy, spreading well, and cook, with the lid on, for about 20 minutes, until the dumplings are well risen, light and fluffy.

Serve with buttery mashed potato and winter vegetables such as leeks, Savoy cabbage, or parsnips.