Chef Tom Griffiths' beef dumpling recipe flips the old school dish of beef stew and suet dumplings on its head, or rather turns it inside-out, with the rich braised beef mix served inside the dumpling dough. Serve with the super sticky pan stock for optimum flavour — it's well worth the effort.
Recipe courtesy of
1kg mix of beef cheek, beef tail, chuck, or braising steak (just make sure there’s a nice amount of fat)
If possible use waste carrot peelings, ends of your celery, onion trimmings, or use 1 carrot, 1 onion, and 1 celery stalk (all roughly chopped)
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
Couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce
50g tomato paste
20ml pan stock
Water to cover
Pan Stock — makes 1l but can be frozen and used for other dishes)
Beef trimming from the dumplings
500ml beef stock (reserved from roasting the beef, top up with beef stock if there’s not enough)
500ml chicken stock
1 shallot, finely diced
80g beef fat
50ml tomato ketchup
10ml French's mustard
15ml cider vinegar
10ml Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Tabasco
30ml cloudy apple juice
5ml blackstrap molasses (1 teaspoon)
50ml oyster sauce
20ml soy sauce
Ingredients for Balling
2 whole carrots, finely diced
½ celery stick, finely diced
1 leek, finely sliced
1 onion, finely diced
80g self-raising flour
5 leaves of parsley
1 sprig of thyme
1 tbsp lard or goose fat
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To prepare the meat, remove all the sinew and cartilage etc., keeping the trimmings for the sauce. (Your butcher can do this, but make sure that fat is still there).
Seal the meat in a pan on a high heat with a drizzle of oil, making sure the meat is well-coloured. Season well with salt and pepper.
Once sealed, place the meat evenly in a cast iron pan or slow cooker. Stir in your bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, smashed garlic, tomato paste and a couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce.
Add water to cover and cook in the oven for 6 hours, until it gets melty and sticky.
When cooked, break the meat down whilst it’s still warm. Pass the stock from the pan through a sieve and reserve.
Now make the pan stock, as this will be used to bind the mix, and used as a sauce for the dumplings. Brown the beef trimmings in a large pan over a high heat until well-browned. Add both stocks and deglaze the pan, then lower the heat and simmer, skimming the surface continuously, until the liquid has reduced by two-thirds.
Meanwhile, in another pan, sweat the shallots in the butter for about 5—8 minutes, or until soft. Add the Madeira, bring to a simmer and reduce the liquid by half.
Add the Madeira mixture to the reduced stock and simmer to reduce the liquid by a further quarter, skimming continuously. Whisk in some beef fat.
Mix in all the remaining ingredients and reduce a little more. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve before serving.
To finish making the dumpling filling, sweat the diced balling vegetables in a pan, cooking down slowly until softened.
Mix the sweated vegetables with the meat, adding a little pan stock to help it bind.
Roll the mixture into 75g balls and chill in the fridge to set.
To make the dumpling dough, add the flour, suet, parsley, and thyme to a food processor and blitz.
Add the water and mix, but do not overwork — the ingredients just need to bind together.
Prepare balls of pastry for the dumplings, you want about 50g for each one. Dust your worktop with flour and remove your set meatballs from the fridge.
Roll your pastry portions into small, plate-sized discs (about the size of a DVD, if you can remember what they were!)
Place the meatball in the middle and fold your pastry around it. Just a pinch should stick the pastry together. Repeat for all the dumplings.
Set up a steamer or a Chinese steaming basket (or turn your oven on to a steamer setting, if you have a steam oven). If you don't have a steamer, put a pan of water on to boil, place a sieve over the top and place a bowl on top of that. Once dumplings are in, cover with greaseproof paper that you’ve stabbed a few times. Steam your dumplings for 12—15 minutes.
This last step is an optional extra for those who haven’t eaten half the dumplings already:
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Leave the dumplings for a few minutes and heat up your fat so it has melted. Be careful.
Once the fat is warm, brush the dumplings and place in a hot oven for 5 minutes, to crisp the outside.
Serve with the pan stock, and get stuck in.
The Pass was created to help the many people now struggling to feed themselves and their families as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. If you like or use this recipe, please consider making a small donation to Hospitality Action to help those whose livelihoods have all but disappeared.