Eats, Shoots & Reads

Eats #36: Best Recipe Ever!!!

Ingredients: [Dumplings] 200g self raising flour, 100g butter, bunch fresh tarragon, sea salt, milk, freshly ground black pepper, nutmeg. [Stew] 2 rabbits diced beef, flour, olive oil, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, 5 rashers smoked sreaky bacon, rosemary, 125g wild mushrooms, handful baby onions, 330ml Mackeson’s stout, 425ml chicken stock.

Note: I halved the ingredients to serve 2 people.

Difficulty: 2/5
Rating: 5/5

Start by making the dumplings. Mix the flour, butter and finely chopped tarragon with a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring the ingredients together using a fork adding a little milk at a time until it forms a dough.

Knead the dough gently, trying to keep the lumps of butter in tact and then roll the dough into a sausage shape. Split the dough into equal sizes and roll into a ball and place onto a baking tray. Finally sprinkle some nutmeg over the dumplings and refrigerate until needed.

To make the stew coat the beef in flour and brown on all sides in butter and olive oil. When the beef is browned add finely chopped bacon and fry for another 5-10 minutes until golden. Add the onions, mushrooms and rosemary and fry for a few minutes before adding a tablespoon of flour, Mackeson’s stout and chicken stock. Put a lid on the pan and simmer for 30 minutes until reduced.

Transfer into a pre-heated, oven proof dish and add the dumplings making sure at least 1/3 of the dumpling is above the stew. Finally drizzle with olive oil and cook for 35-45 minutes. Once the dumplings are crisp and golden on top remove from the oven and serve!


This recipe is, by far, the tastiest recipe I’ve done! The stew was rich, hearty and warming and the dumplings were like little clouds, soft and fluffy with a lovely crunch on top! Definitely an enjoyable, tasty recipe and one I’ll be doing several times over!

Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to try this recipe with rabbit… Partly because I was lazy and partly because the 2 supermarkets I tried didn’t sell rabbit – maybe next time.

Despite not having rabbit the stew was rich, dark and delicious. The beef was soft and tender and the onions we’re sweet with a little crunch. The real surprise was the gravy made from the meat juices, stock and Mackeson’s stout – a real treat – and I could imagine the stew working really well as a pie filling! My one criticism is that the mushrooms were a little lost amongst the gravy and next time I’d use larger chunks.

The dumplings were a real triumph! I’ve never made dumplings with butter before and like many others have opted for a more traditional suet approach. The dumplings were light, fluffy, buttery and soft and worked really well with the tarragon. The tops of the dumplings had a lovely golden crunch and the nutmeg added a lovely sweetness without overpowering the taste. I would definitely make these dumplings again and from now on would opt for butter over suet as it’s a very different texture.

I would love to try the dumplings with chilli and garlic with a tomato based stew to see how they taste.

Overall a really, really tasty recipe that was simple, straight forward and gave you a warm, comforting hug – definitely worth a try!!

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