Beef and Guiness Stew and Dumplings Recipe

Stews are a perfect winter food that can be put in the oven at the beginning of the day but forgotten about until revealing a deliciously comforting dinner. It's simple and gives delicious results. I used a recipe from Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food cookbook, where a basic stew recipe can be made into different dishes altering a few simple ingredients. I chose the beef and ale option, deciding on using Guiness as my flavouring and added a dumpling topping.
Ingredients
2 sticks of celery
2 medium onions
2 carrots
Olive oil
1 heaped tbsp plain flour
1 tin chopped tomatoes
3 bay leaves 
500g dicing stewing beef
500ml ale, Guiness or stout
Method
Preheat oven to 200c. Chop the celery, onions and carrots and put in a casserole dish on medium heat with the bay leaves with a little oil for 10 minutes. 
Add the meat and flour then pour in the alcohol and tomatoes and season. Bring to the boil and either simmer on the hob or in the oven for 3 hours with a lid. Remove the lid for the last half hour.
I also made mine with a dumpling topping which can also be found in the same book and are simple and melt in your mouth. All you need is:
250g self raising flour
125g butter
Salt and pepper
Put the flour in a mixing bowl and grate in the butter. Rub through your fingers until resembling bread crumbs. Add some water until it forms a dough. Divide into 12 pieces and roll into dumplings. Place onto the top of your stew until half submerged and cook for the final 30 minutes.
This stew came out so well that it was added to my mums recipe book. I only had a very large casserole dish and was a little dry when I removed the lid for the final 30mins so I added a little water at this stage, but I would be sure to make it again. 

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