18 March 2013

Pub Food - Beef in Stout with Herb Dumplings

Sunday Supper never looked so good ...

I tend to work my way through the cookbooks that I acquire ... slowly but surely. I discover the best recipes and set them aside for holidays or parties or seasonal celebration. I also tend to cycle through cook books and bring them out onto my kitchen work island periodically to re-new my acquaintance with certain recipes. Like many other bloggers, this past weekend gave the opportunity to work the Irish angle to the max ... and I won't even try to tell you that I didn't stuff myself with the traditional corned beef and cabbage that Americans treat as the Irish national dish. I made my share of Irish soda bread for our little church's annual corned beef dinner and had green punch along with the rest of the church folk on Saturday evening.

On Sunday, though, I turned to my little pub food cook book for a simple Sunday supper. I made a simple stew of beef tenderloin chunks, carrots and onions with a sweet oatmeal stout gravy. Simple herb dumplings topped it and with a hot pot of tea, it was an easy and hearty supper. One more loaf of a jazzed up soda bread that was sweetened with golden raisins soaked in Drambuie and a dose of caraway seed warmed in the oven for our dessert with one more cuppa. Supper was finished off with a toast to St Patrick, my Irish ancestors and the Flynn folk in our immediate family and then we stoked the fire for the evening and cozied in with books and the dogs.

That's what I like about pub food. It sticks to your ribs and makes you feel completely at home ... hope your  St Patrick's Day was equally satisfying  ...

Beef and Carrots with Herb Dumplings

Serves: 2 - 3


1 lb. beef tenderloin (ends and scraps) – cut into 1 inch chunks
Flour to dredge the meat
4 carrots, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
1 large onion
4 tbsp. canola oil, divided evenly
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 bay leaf
½ tsp. thyme
1 heaping tsp. brown sugar
a generous cup dark stout beer (oatmeal stout is good!)

Making the Stew:

  1. Prepare the meat and plop it into a plastic bag. Add about ½ c. flour and salt and pepper. Close the bag and shake it around to coat the beef chunks. Set it aside for a few minutes.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp. of the oil in a flame proof covered casserole pot. Add the onions and pepper them generously. Add the carrots and cook the vegetables for about five minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. When the onions are becoming golden, turn the vegetables into a bowl and set them aside.
  4. Add the second 2 tbsp. of oil to the hot pot and add the beef in batches, letting it brown on all sides. Turn the browned beef out and do second batch of beef.
  5. When all the beef is browned up, turn the vegetables and meat back into the hot pot, pour the oatmeal stout over the mix and stir to loosen the browned and blackened bits on the pan’s edges and cooking surface. Add the thyme, bay leaf, brown sugar and stir everything together.
  6. Bring to a boil. Cover the pot and put it in the oven. Set the oven temperature at 325 ° F and leave the pot to cook for 1 to 1 ½ hours.
  7. At the one hour mark, make the dumplings and drop them on the surface of the stew. Cook ten minutes uncovered and then ten more minutes covered.
  8. Serve the stew in shallow bowls with a cold glass of beer.
Note: About the meat in this dish - I used the ends and scraps from a whole beef tenderloin that I'd purchased and cut up into smaller packets for freezing. Other cuts for this dish might be sirloin tips, beef chuck steak,  or stew bits. The beef cooks for a good hour and a half so you're going to tenderize things nicely in that stew gravy.

Herb Dumplings


¾ c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. dried chives (or fresh if you have them)
2 tbsp. dried parsley (ditto)
⅛ tsp. salt
2 generous tbsp. lard or vegetable shortening
2 generous handfuls freshly grated Parmesan or Cheddar cheese
¼ plus a bit more cold milk

Measure all the dried ingredients into a bowl. Add the shortening and cheese and using two knives, cut in the cheese and shortening until the mixture is crumbly and mealy. Add the milk all at once and stir quickly until the batter forms. Use two spoons to form rounded dumplings and turn them onto a bubbling hot stew. Pop the stew back into the oven and cook the dumplings “ten minutes cover off, ten minutes cover on”.


  1. What a lovely stew! And the herb dumplings give it a bit of a spring-time feel. I could see using other herbs as well--thyme, rosemary. Can't wait to try this!

  2. this must be the most satisfying pot of gorgeousness I've seen all day... divine stuff and I love those herby dumplings!

  3. I have that same cookbook.(Christmas Tree Shop) I wished I had brushed the dust off it and found this delicious recipe. Gorgeous photos.

    1. I have been loving this book, Susan! Try making the Barm Brack! It is one of the best breads I've ever made! The Colcannon recipe is also pretty darn good!
      Oh! And the Vegetable Cobbler! So good!

  4. That looks like my kind of book - a part of my job is as resident cook in a local pub; meals like this one go down a treat, mainly because they taste so good!

    1. Suzanne ... check out alibris.com - I getmany of my cook books through the site, as they are used books and greatly reduced from their initial price. I think I got this pub cooking cook book for $3 and change ... good deals for a book fiend, just sayin'.

  5. I think this is the pot at the end of the rainbow that the leprechauns have been talking about! Yum Yum Yum!!! Those have to be the best looking dumplings I've ever seen! Have a wonderful day, hope you don't get too much snow!

  6. I must get a copy of that book from the library. If your stew and dumplings are any indication the book is a winner. This looks delicious, Susan. I hope you had a great St. Patrick's Day. Enjoy the rest of the week. Blessings...Mary

  7. What an incredible soup/stew for this time of year! I LOVE the herb dumplings and can imagine how much they added to the overall flavor pairing in this recipe! Bookmarked and pinned Susan!

  8. Now that's the stick to your ribs kinda meal I love! Those herb dumplings rock! And you've done pub food some real justice here, Susan.

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors


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