250 g self-raising flour
125 g butter, really cold
freshly ground black pepper
1.) Preheat your oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5
2.) Put your flour into a mixing bowl
3.) Using a coarse grater, grate your cold butter into the flour
4.) Add a pinch of salt and pepper
5.) Using your fingers, gently rub the butter into the flour until it begins to resemble breadcrumbs
6.) Add a splash of cold water to help bind it into a dough
7.) Divide the dough into 24 pieces and gently roll each into a round dumpling. The dumplings will suck up quite a bit of moisture so if your stew looks dry - add a cup of boiling water and give it a good stir
8.) Place the dumplings on top of your fully cooked stew and press down lightly so that they're half submerged. Carefully control the stew liquid according to your choice.
9.) Cook in the oven or on the hob over a medium heat with the lid on for 30 minutes
Skynet Stew recipe
800g beef brisket, cut into 2 inch chunks
50ml sunflower oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 sticks celery, peeled and chopped
20g plain flour
300ml Belgian ale (or any brand will do)
400ml beef stock
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp tomato puree
a few sprigs of thyme
1.) Heat the sunflower oil in a large, heavy-based casserole dish over a moderate heat. Season the beef, then sear in batches until golden brown in colour all over. Remove from the dish, then add the onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf and thyme sprigs and sweat the vegetables for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally until just softened.
2.) Sprinkle the beef with the flour to coat, then add back to the dish. Increase the heat and deglaze the dish with the beer, stirring the base well to loosen any debris.
3.) Pour in the stock and bring the mixture to the boil. Stir in the tomato puree, then cover the dish and reduce to a simmer. Cook gently for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
4.) Remove from the heat after 2 hours and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Make sure you discard the bay leaf and thyme sprigs before serving.