Make day before without dumplings,cool in fridge,finish day after.
plenty of flavour,definitely better the day after,especially on a cold day.
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first of all skin your shallots.cut bacon into strips.heat1 tbsp of olive oil and 10g of the butter in a large frying pan,add the shallots and bacon.cook over a medium heat until shallots are browned and the bacon has just started to crisp.remove from the pan and place in a large oven proof casserole dish.
place beef in a large bowl,add flour,season and mix well.heat a further tbsp of oil in the frying pan and add one thuird of the beef.brown quickly over a high heat and spoon the meat into the casserole dish.repeat with the remaining meat.
once all of the meat has browned,return the frying pan to a high heat and add the ale and beef stock.bring to the boil,stirring with a wooden spoon,and pour into the casserole.tie the bay leaf,thyme,parsley and celery together with kitchen string to make a bouquet garni and add to the pot.season,bring to the boil,cover with a lid and cook on the middle shelf of the oven for 1 hour.
melt the remaining 30g butter in a frying pan and cook the mushrooms until browned,add to the casserole and contiue to cook for a further 20 mins.remove from the oven.leave to cool,cover and chill overnight before making the dumplings.
preheat the oven to 150c/300f/gas 2.
using a slotted spoon,remove all the meat and vegetables from the casserole and set aside.place the casserole dish and sauce over a medium heat and bring slowly to the boil.mix the remaining 1 tsp of butter and flour together to form a paste.add a little at a time to the casserole,whisking constantly until slightl thickened.you may not need it all.return the meat and vegetables to the casserole dish.
dumplings; in a bowl,mix together all the dumpling ingredients and season.add enough water to bind,and shape into 8 dumplings.place on top of the casserole and return to the oven for a further 30-35 minutes.serve with baked or mashed potatoes.