A hearty casserole slowly simmered until meat is tastily tender is a great way to spend a cold night in.

Ingredients:

Serves 4-6

  • 1kg chuck or boneless shin/gravy beef
  • 2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 2 medium red capsicums, cut into large dice
  • 2 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds (optional)
  • 400g can tomato puree (or diced tomatoes)
  • 2½ cups beef stock
  • Dumplings
  • 60g cold butter
  • 11/2 cups self-raising flour
  • Salt and baking powder
  • Chopped chives or parsley
  • 1 cup cold milk

Method:

Preheat oven to 180°C. Cut beef into 2.5cm-3cm cubes. Season with salt and pepper, and add about 2 tablespoons of oil to the beef, mix well. Heat a large frypan over a medium-high heat. Brown the beef in 2 or 3 batches.

Remove each batch and place it in a casserole dish. Reduce heat in the pan, add a little oil, add onion and garlic, cook for 1 minute, add carrot and capsicum, cook for 1-2 minutes and stir occasionally. Sprinkle in paprika, flour and caraway seeds, stir until the vegetables are coated.

Gradually pour in the tomato puree and stock, stirring well. Stir until the mixture boils. Add to the casserole dish, stir to combine. Cover the casserole dish, place in oven. Stir every 40 minutes or so, add water if needed to keep the ingredients just covered. Cook until the beef is very tender.

To make dumplings:

Rub chopped butter into self-raising flour. Add a pinch each of salt and baking powder and some chopped chives (or parsley). Make a hole in the centre, add cold milk and mix lightly until just combined.

Test your casserole, if the meat is tender (and just about ready to serve) you can now add the dumpling mixture. Drop small spoonfuls of the mixture around the edge of the simmering casserole. Re-cover the casserole dish and cook casserole for a further 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with dumplings.

Cooktop method:

Place the browned beef and other ingredients in a heavy-based pot. Partially cover, keep the heat low. Stir occasionally, add water if needed during the cooking time to keep ingredients well covered. Simmer until the meat is very tender.