Stew is one of life’s comfort foods, especially when you’ve added dumplings to the mix, And I can’t think of anyone I know, who doesn’t like stew and dumplings.

The weather has been pretty horrendous recently so I thought, what could be nicer than a lamb stew..

I normally cook stew on my cooker top, on low once it’s been brought to the boil etc, but it also does really well cooked in the slow cooker. At the moment with electric and gas prices being so high, the wiser decision would probably be to use your slow cooker..

This short vid is a pan of lamb stew I made about 3 years ago. Thought I’d share it and show how yummy it looks just cooking…

One of the easiest ways to make a stew is buy a frozen casserole pack. Farm foods, Iceland and most frozen food aisles in your local supermarket will sell them quite cheaply. Also a stew is a perfect way of using up that leftover scabby veg you’ve got mouldering in the back of the fridge or any leftover cooked veg from a previous ‘cooked dinner’ I’ve been known to throw mashed spuds and cooked mushy peas into my stews. Tip, both make an excellent thickener.

* You can use left over lamb/beef joint meat or buy fresh from your butcher or supermarket. Scraggy neck of lamb is a good option as it stews very nicely. Also you can buy frozen diced lamb from any freezer shop which is relatively cheap. A cheap cut of beef also works well as it becomes really tender whilst being stewed.
*Small amount of oil
*Frozen casserole pack (The easiest way of doing it).
*Otherwise a mixture of fresh veg to taste, e.g., Potatoes, Carrots, Onions, Leeks and anything else you’ve got leftover.
*Seasoning to taste, salt, pepper, mixed herbs, garlic etc.
*Enough water to cover veg and meat
*Gravy stock. I’m lazy and I use gravy granule’s, however any gravy stock is ok. I like granules because they thicken as well which saves me having to use cornflour to thicken it up and they give a nice flavour.

Method (Stove top method)

*Heat the oil in a large stewpan (Or biggest saucepan you have). Once heated add your diced meat, making sure you stir frequently to ensure it doesn’t stick to the pan.
*Once your meat starts browning, start adding your vegetables, stirring carefully. Add your water and bring to the boil.
* Once boiling, add your seasoning (to taste), and your gravy stock. If using granules, don’t add too much as you don’t want it to be too thick at this stage, you can thicken it up later.
*Turn the heat down to really low so it’s just simmering and leave it for 3-4 hours, continue to stir so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. It’s now going to ‘stew’ and the meat will become lovely and tender. When simmering, it should just be bubbling very slightly. I add the rest of my gravy granules at this stage so it’s nice and thick.

You don’t have to have dumplings with stew, it’s delicious by itself, but I always think dumplings just finish it off.

Dumplings are really easy to make. All you need is suet, flour (I always use self raising flour) and water. The secret to making good dumplings so they’re not too heavy and dense is how you mix them and how hot your stew is. The ratio of flour to suet is always double

Dumpling Ingredients (Makes roughly 6-8 decent sized dumplings)
*3 0z (85g) suet. I buy vegetarian suet, but beef suet is good.
* 60z (170g) SF flour.
*Enough water to mix to a stiff mixture
*Salt pepper to taste
*Mixed herbs to taste. (I like about a tablespoon)
*Large bowl and wooden spoon to mix

Weigh suet and flour into the bowl and mix well
* Add seasoning and if using, mixed herbs. Mix everything well
*Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture and start adding cold water carefully. Fold don’t mix the water into your flour and suet (This is very important). If you ‘beat’ the mixture you’ll end up with heavy dumplings. Continue to add small amounts of water until the mixture is stiff and slightly sticky. It shouldn’t be wet.
*Portion up the mixture into however many dumplings you want to make (Don’t handle it too much).
*In the meantime, ensure your stew is now boiling. It’s really important that it’s boiling (As in my video), if you put the dumplings in before it’s been boiling for a couple of minutes they’ll probably be very dense and heavy.
* Once you’re happy your stew is boiling, then drop your dumplings into the mixture. If it stops bubbling, then don’t drop another one in until it starts again.
*Cook for 20-30 minutes (You can lower the heat now just a tad) until your dumplings are cooked. I tend to push them into the stew lightly so the gravy covers the tops. Make sure you keep stirring on a regular basis so the stew doesn’t stick.

Then serve.. your family will love it.

If you want to make this in your slow cooker then I’d be inclined to start it on the cooker hob and once you’ve got it going then tip into your heated slow cooker. You could leave it on low power for hours whilst its stewing. Just remember to give it the occasional stir and turn it up to high a good hour or so before you add your dumplings.










Registered nurse, wife, mum and nana. I've had my share of 'hard times' when a child and also in the early years of being married. I learned a lot about how to make the pennies stretch further, so I'm going to share my little hints and tips with you...