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Beef and carrots in stout with parsley and horseradish dumpling

Serves 4-6

The stout mellows in the oven to a lovely deep, chocolatey flavour. You don’t need potatoes, making this dish very cook-friendly. Buttered cabbage is delicious with it.


For the beef

  • 3 tbsp groundnut or sunflower oil
  • 1kg (2lb 4oz) braising beef, in large chunks
  • 350g (12oz) carrots, sliced
  • 300g (10 ½oz) leeks, sliced
  • 50g (1 ½oz) pearl barley
  • 1 x 330ml bottle stout
  • salt and pepper

For the dumplings

  • ½ onion, very finely chopped
  • 15g (½oz) butter
  • 4 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 80g (2 ½oz) breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 generous tbsp creamed horseradish


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a heavy flameproof casserole and brown the meat in batches. Remove and set aside. Add the remaining oil to the pan and fry the vegetables until lightly coloured, then tip in the barley.
  2. Add the stout and stir to deglaze the pan. Pour in 750ml (1½pints) water, return the meat and season. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and put in the oven for 2 hours. Check to make sure the casserole hasn’t become dry; add more water if needed.
  3. Make the dumplings: sauté the onion in the butter, put into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Bring the mixture together and form into 12 little golf-ball-sized dumplings. The mixture will be rather loose, but persevere. Dot the dumplings on top of the beef. Cook, covered, for 20 minutes, then uncover and cook for another 10 minutes.

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