This Beef in Guinness with Wild Garlic Dumplings is the mother of all stews. It’s rich, comforting and full of delicious flavours.
The gravy in this Beef in Guinness stew is just divine. The beef itself falls apart due to the magic of the slow cooker.
And the wild garlic dumplings are the perfect accompaniment. Puffy little dumpling clouds, flavoured with the fresh Spring taste of ramsons.
I hope you give this recipe a go, and I hope you love it as much as we do!
How to make Beef in Guinness stew
Using a slow cooker for this dish may not be traditional, but it makes it so easy! Just follow these simple steps to beef stew nirvana…
1/ prep the beef
Firstly, chop your beef into bite sized pieces.
You can opt for any cut of beef, in fact, the cheaper cuts are often the best when slow cooked. Any fat, sinew and gristle in the meat will be broken down and become delicious.
Sprinkle with the flour and salt, and toss the meat to ensure a good coverage of both.
The flour is mainly to thicken the gravy slowly during the cooking process.
You could swap it out for a gluten free flour, or skip this step and thicken the sauce at the end of the cooking time by pouring in 1-2 teaspoons of cornflour mixed together with a few tablespoons of old water.
Next, pre heat a frying pan.
Add in the oil, swirling it around to coat the base of the pan.
Add in the beef, in batches if necessary, so that it lays in a single layer. Leave for 2-3 minutes, then toss to sear the other sides.
(If you are short on time you can omit this stage altogether, but you will be missing out on a lovely umami layer of flavour).
When seared, tip the beef into the slow cooker.
Replace the pan on the heat and pour in the water. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape the bottom of the pan, aiming to scrub up all the meaty flavour from the pan.
Pour the all these meaty juices into the slow cooker.
2/ prep your veggies
I’m adding mushrooms to this recipe as they are a great way of stretching a beef dish.
Mushrooms, when cooked, are pretty meaty tasting so they’re a great addition if you want to boost the veggies whilst reducing the meat input.
To prep your mushrooms, just wipe any soil away with a damp paper towel.
Then chop into bite sized pieces and add to the slow cooker pot.
Chop or mince your garlic and add that to the slow cooker too.
And finally, pour in the can or bottle of Guinness too.
If you can’t find Guinness where you live, any stout beer would work. Or even a dark ale if that’s all you have available to you.
How to make wild garlic dumplings
These dumplings are the tradition English version of dumplings that are made with flour, water and suet.
Suet is made from the hard, crumbly fat that is found around the kidneys of a cow. The box of suet you buy in the shops is usually made of beef suet. But you can also use the suet from sheep too.
There is also a vegetarian version of suet which is made from vegetable oils and starches such as rice or wheat flours.
1/ mix the dry dumpling ingredients
Weigh out the flour and suet into a bowl.
Add in the baking powder. This will help the dumplings puff up during the cooking process.
2/ add the wild garlic
Chop a bunch of wild garlic and add that to the bowl too.
You can use all part of the wild garlic plant, from the flowers right down to the bulb. However please remember it’s illegal in England to dig up any wild plant on public land. If they grow on your own land, then it’d OK.
Today I’m just using the leaves, stems and flowers.
Pour in the water, then add in the chopped wild garlic.
Begin mixing with a spoon as dumpling dough is very sticky!
Then wet your hands wild cold water to scrape it out of the bowl and onto a chopping board.
Divide the dough into eight evenly sized pieces.
Wet your hands again and roll each piece into a little ball.
About an hour before your slow cooker beef stew will be finished, removed the lid and carefully lay your eight little dumplings on top of the stew.
Over the outer of an hour, they’ll plump up and cook through. Leaving you with a delicious carby topping for your beef and Guinness stew!
If you’re loving wild garlic season as much as me, and you’d like to experiment with more fun recipes, do check out my other wild garlic recipes here!
- 750 g beef - diced
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp oil
- 500 ml Guinness
- 300 g mushrooms - cleaned and quartered
- 250 g onions - diced
- 6 cloves garlic - minced
- 100 g plain flour
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 50 g suet
- 5 tbsp cold water
- 50 g wild garlic - finely chopped. This is roughly a ‘small bunch’. Use a mix of the stems, flowers and leaves.
Dice the beef into bite sized pieces. if you’re trying to stretch the meat to feed more people, cut the pieces slightly smaller.
Place the meat in a bowl and add the flour and salt. Toss together to coat evenly.
Place a heavy bottomed frying pan onto a medium high heat. When hot, add the oil and spread around the pan.
Then add the beef in a single, even layer. Let the beef sit there for a few minutes before turning, so it can get a nice dark sear on the meat. You may need to sear it in batches.
Add to the slow cooker pan when all sides are seared.
Place the frying pan back on the heat and pour the water in too.
Using a wooden spoon or spatula, scrape up all the meaty bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan.
When the base is clean, pour this flavourful beef stock into the slow cooker too.
Pour in the Guinness.
Then add the chopped mushrooms, onions and garlic.
To cook for 3-4 hours: set the slow cooker to high.
To cook for 6-8 hours: set the slow cooker to low.
Avoid lifting the slow cooker lid for at least the first 2 hours to give it time to heat up sufficiently to slow cook the meat and make it really tender. After the first 2 hours you may lif the lid occasionally to stir and check on the contents if you wish.
The dumplings will take about 30 minutes to cook if your slow cooker is set to high, and about 60 minutes if your slow cooker is set to low.
So start making them either 30 or 60 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
Please note: if you make them too far ahead of time, the baking powder will activate too early, meaning that the dumplings won’t plump up in the stew as well as you’d hoped.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, suet, cold water and chopped wild garlic together.
Bring together into a slightly sticky dough.
Wet your hands in cold water, them divide and shape the dough into 8 evenly sized balls.
Give the stew a good stir, then pop the dumplings on top of the stew and replace the lid.
Continue cooking for the rest of the cooking time or until the dumplings have plumped up and cooked right the way through.