• 1-1.25kg joint silverside beef
  • 2l good quality stock (chicken, beef or vegetable)

Vegetables for the stock

For the spice bag

For the baby vegetables

For the dumplings


  • STEP 1

    Cut the beef into three or four chunky pieces, put in a large pan and just cover with cold water. Bring it quickly to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and, using a ladle, skim off any scum on the top. As you are doing this, you will also be removing some of the water. Pour in the stock, return it to the boil, then turn to a simmer.

  • STEP 2

    Meanwhile, roughly chop the vegetables and add them to the pan with the sprigs of thyme and bay leaves. Season lightly.

  • STEP 3

    Take a large square of muslin (or use a clean J-cloth), lay the spices in the middle and then tie up with kitchen string, like a money bag. Drop the bag into the pan and tie the bag to the handle. Simmer the beef (don’t let it boil) for about 2 hrs, until the meat feels tender when pierced with a sharp knife. If the stock reduces down too much, top it up with more water so the meat remains submerged.

  • STEP 4

    While the beef is cooking, peel celeriac and cut into small sticks about 1cm thick. Halve turnips. Trim tops off the other vegetables, but don’t peel – there’s no need. Bring a pan of lightly salted water to the boil and blanch vegetables for about 3 mins. Have ready a large bowl of ice-cold water and when the vegetables are just tender, drain them and tip immediately into the water. Leave for 2-3 mins, drain again and set aside. Also, while the beef is cooking, mix together the flour, suet, salt, a grinding of pepper and the parsley for the dumplings.

  • STEP 5

    When the beef is cooked, remove the pan from the heat, then strain off and reserve the stock for cooking the dumplings and reheating the baby vegetables (you won’t use it all). Discard the vegetables and tip the beef into a baking dish. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm.

  • STEP 6

    Mix just enough cold water (about 200ml) into the flour and suet mix to make a soft dough. If the dough is too wet, it will be difficult to shape. Roll gently into 10-12 balls. Bring a shallow pan of water to the boil and add a couple of ladles of the stock plus the olive oil, the star anise, peppercorns and thyme sprigs. Using a slotted spoon, lower in the dumplings. Cover and simmer for about 12-15 mins, until risen and fluffy. Remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon.

  • STEP 7

    Spoon about three ladles of stock into another pan, bring to a simmer and reheat the veg briefly. Remove with a slotted spoon. Strain the stock from the veg for serving.

  • STEP 8

    Cut each beef chunk into slices and season lightly. Arrange in warmed serving dishes with the baby vegetables, celeriac and dumplings. Pour some stock over and serve.


To keep them light, mix the dough just before cooking and make sure the liquid only simmers – don’t boil them or they will break up. Adding a splash of olive oil to the water keeps them glossy and stops them sticking, a bit like cooking pasta.


Tying the whole spices in a muslin bag ensures they impart their flavour and can be easily removed. (If you attach the bag to the handle of the pan it’s simple to locate it when you want to lift it out.)


Gordon uses a lean, low-fat braising beef, such as silverside or brisket and cut it into three or four pieces so that it cooks evenly. Put the beef into water only to start with, bring it to the boil, then remove the scum. This acts as a cleansing process before the stock goes in. After that, keep skimming all the way through the cooking for a lovely, rich stock.


Baby vegetables don’t need much preparation – just trim any tops or stalks. As the skins are so fine, there’s no need to peel. Dunking the blanched baby vegetables in ice-cold water is called ‘refreshing’, and helps to keep the bright colour and texture. It also means you can cook them ahead, then just reheat before serving.


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