Beef Stew With Suet Dumplings (Slow Cooker)

Beef Stew With Suet Dumplings (Slow Cooker)
I used to love dumplings as a child, and as student, they were an easy way to make a meal go further.

They seem to have gone out of fashion, and when you do see them, they are often either made from a packet mix, containing vegetable suet (with palm oil), or no suet at all – which means they are savoury scones (or, in the US, biscuits).

My dumplings contain beef suet, and I make no apologies for that.

As with all slow cooker dishes, use cheap cuts of meat. This dish does not require expensive steak – in fact, well worked muscles will have more flavour – chuck, skirt, leg and flank. All of these might be labelled as “braising steak” in the supermarket. Beef shin is excellent.


  • Instead of chopped onions, drain a jar of pearl onions and use that instead. The onions will retain a hint of vinegar, but that compliments the richness of the beef.
  • Parsnips may be added as well as carrots and leeks.
  • Instead of red wine, try a large glass of stout.

Beef Stew With Suet Dumplings (Slow Cooker)

Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time7 hours
Total Time7 hours 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: British
Keyword: Slow Cooker Recipes
Servings: 6 people
Author: Adapted from Good Housekeeping


For the stew

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 kg (2lb 2oz) beef, cut into 4cm (1½in) chunks
  • Seasoned plain flour
  • 5 medium carrots, cut into 2.5cm (1in) pieces
  • 2 large leeks, cut into 1cm (½in) slices
  • 600 ml (1 pint) beef stock
  • (Optional) A glass of red wine, or a red wine "stock pod"
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • Half a cup of pearl barley

For the dumplings

  • 125 gram (4oz) self-raising flour
  • 60 gram (2½oz) suet
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste


Beef Stew

  • Turn on empty slow cooker to high setting.
  • Put the oil, vegetables and tomato purée into the slow cooker.
  • Dust beef with plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper.
  • (Optional) Toss beef for a couple of minutes in a hot well-oiled frying pan, until browned.
  • Add beef to the slow cooker together with the stock, Worcestershire sauce and red wine (if used). Also add herbs and salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Cover and cook on high for 1 hour.
  • Switch cooker to low setting, give it a stir, and continue to cook for 5-6 hours.
  • Remove the lid, add the pearl barley, and stir in well.
  • Place dumplings (see below) on top of the stew, spacing apart.
  • Switch cooker to high setting, and continue cooking for 40 minutes, with the lid off.
  • Serve with fresh crusty bread.

Suet Dumplings

  • Sift the flour into a large bowl and stir in the suet, parsley and salt and pepper.
  • Add 100ml (3½fl oz) cold water and stir to make a soft (and slightly sticky) dough.
  • Using lightly floured hands (or on a floured board or plate), gently roll into golf-ball sized pieces.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.