Lighter beef stew & dumplings

Lighter beef stew & dumplings

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(19 ratings)

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 2 hrs, 30 mins


Serves 4
We've cut the calories and fat and boosted the fibre in this comforting casserole by using a lean cut of beef and upping the vegetables

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Healthy

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal571
  • fat18g
  • saturates4g
  • carbs54g
  • sugars18g
  • fibre9g
  • protein39g
  • salt0.9g
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    For the stew

    • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
      Rapeseed oil

      Rapeseed oil

      If you want a light alternative to other cooking oils, rapeseed is a great choice and has…

    • 2 medium onions, chopped



      Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

    • 2 bay leaves
    • 4 thyme sprigs, plus extra leaves to serve
    • 550g chunks of lean braising steak
    • 100ml red wine
    • 1½ tbsp plain flour
    • 1 tsp English mustard powder
    • 230g can plum tomatoes
    • 500ml vegetable bouillon
    • 280g carrots, halved lengthways and sliced



      The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

    • 400g piece butternut squash, deseeded, peeled and cut into 3-4cm/1¼-1½ in chunks
    • 140g chestnut mushrooms, quartered or halved if large

    For the dumplings

    • 140g self-raising flour
    • ½ tsp English mustard powder
    • 2 spring onions, ends trimmed, finely chopped
      Spring onions

      Spring onion

      sp-ring un-yun

      Also known as scallions or green onions, spring onions are in fact very young onions, harvested…

    • 3 tbsp chopped parsley



      One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…

    • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
      Rapeseed oil

      Rapeseed oil

      If you want a light alternative to other cooking oils, rapeseed is a great choice and has…

    • 100ml buttermilk
      Buttermilk pancake mixture in bowl with whisk



      There are two types of buttermilk. Traditional buttermilk is a thin, cloudy, slightly tart but…


    1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or deep sauté pan. Tip in the onions, bay leaves and thyme sprigs, and fry over a medium heat for about 8 mins, stirring often, until the onions are turning golden. Raise the heat, add the steak and stir-fry briefly until it starts to lose its raw, red colour. Pour in the wine, stir to deglaze the brown sticky bits from the bottom of the pan, and let it bubble briefly. Lower the heat, sprinkle in the flour and mustard powder, and stir for 1 min. The meat should now be coated in a thick, rich sauce.

    2. Mix in the tomatoes, stirring to break them down. Stir in the stock and bring to the boil. Tip in the carrots, squash and mushrooms, lower the heat, cover with a lid and leave to simmer gently for 1 hr 40 mins, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook for a further 20 mins, still on a gentle simmer, until the meat is very tender. Season with pepper.

    3. When the stew is nearly cooked, heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Put a 2.25-litre casserole dish in to heat it up. Meanwhile, make the dumplings. Put the flour, mustard powder, some pepper and a pinch of salt in a bowl, then stir in the spring onions and parsley. Mix the oil and buttermilk together and gently stir into the flour. Add a drop or two of cold water, if needed, to pick up any dry bits on the bottom of the bowl, and stir to make a soft and slightly sticky dough. Be as light-handed as you can, as overmixing or overhandling will toughen the dumplings. Cut the dough into 8 pieces and very lightly shape each into a small, rough ball.

    4. Carefully transfer the stew to the hot casserole dish and remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Sit the dumplings on top and press them down into the gravy to very slightly submerge. Put the dish on a baking sheet and cook for about 20 mins until the dumplings have risen and are golden on top. Serve with a light scattering of thyme leaves.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    Ashleigh Groves's picture
    Ashleigh Groves
    23rd Sep, 2019
    Lovely recipe. Best beef casserole we've had.
    Silvia Birch's picture
    Silvia Birch
    18th Jan, 2019
    I used a 400g tin of chopped tomatoes, and beef stock instead of bouillion. Also I used fresh rosemary as I had some in, instead of thyme I made my dumplings GF as my hubby is coeliac so I followed a slightly different recipe for the dumplings. The stew was a bit bland. So I added some smoked paprika to try and lift it a bit. I think a blob of creme fraiche as well to serve would do wonders if you don't mind it not being as "light" on the calories.
    glennsharpe's picture
    15th Dec, 2018
    Really delicious stew, cooking time is more of a minimum, cook for longer if you want the beef nice and tender. Worth the wait though!
    10th Dec, 2015
    Not a bad tasting dish. Didn't have mustard powder so used Dijon mustard, not sure if this impacted negativity on the overall taste. Still enjoyed it and will be cooking it again.
    16th Nov, 2015
    Student - First time in a long I've tried cooking anything from scratch, found this recipe and thought I'd give it a bash, turned out delicious. Cheers for adding this!
    28th Apr, 2020
    Could this be done in a crock pot? Would you be able to put the dumplings in the crock pot as well?
    Esther_Deputyfoodeditor's picture
    29th Apr, 2020
    Hey, Esther from the cookery team here! Yes you could, id recommend cooking it for 8-10 hrs and making sure the veg such as the carrots are quite chunky otherwise they'll break down too much. Add the dumplings for the last hr. Thanks for your question!
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