Slow Cooker Beef and Dumplings

Last week we had a family get together. Four generations, variously meat eating and vegetarian, to celebrate a birthday or two. The House of Happiness (for that is us) were tasked with bringing the meat-eaters’ dish.

Naturally I wanted to make something that was unambiguously meaty – no messing with foul or game – and nothing that could end up being tough or gristly. And absolutely no over-the-top spices or exotic additions that could surprise or horrify the more conservative palete.

So I plumbed for slow-cooker beef with dumplings served with a side of mashed potatoes – and lots and lots of it. In fact I had so many ingredients I had to go and get a great big massive pot to cook it in:

Slower Cooker Beef with Dumplings Ingredients

  • Three beef cheeks (yes cheeks – they are tough as old boots but cook them for 3 to 4 hours and they fall to bits!)
  • Two oxtail chunks
  • Ten shallots
  • Two large leeks
  • Four or five carrots
  • Half a swede
  • Six or seven large flat mushrooms
  • A big bunch of thyme
  • A big bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • 3/4 bottle of red wine
  • 3/4 bottle of stout
  • 1 pint beef stock
  • 3 tbps of tomato puree
  • Seasoned flour
  • Olive oil
  • Butter

Cut the cheeks into large chunks:

Heat the oil and butter in the enormous ceramic pot, dredge the meat in the flour and then fry in batches including the oxtail:

Drain the meat and set aside:

Now add the carrot, whole shallots and chopped up swede and cook for 5 minutes. Add the leek and cook for a few minutes more:

Now add the meat back in:

Add the chopped mushrooms and then add the stock, stout and wine:



Now add the tomato paste and the herbage:

Cover and cook at 140 centigrade for 3 hours or more. Meanwhile get the mashed potato ready. Get a big bag of spuds with daft packaging:

Boil the lot in a lovely big shiny pan:

Once tender, drain and add a half pint of cream, a load of chopped up butter and lots of salt and pepper:

Now mash up and then kind of cream so the mash has no lumpy bits:

Back to the meaty stuff. How’s it looking?

Its getting there but we need to get to that family gathering. So everything is tied up with string, stuck in the boot of the car and off we go.

Upon arrival I made the dumplings with beef suet, self-raising flour and water and then popped them on top of the dish and back into the oven for another hour or so:

Meanwhile I had a look at what the vegetarians were having:

Tagine, with couscous and haloumi and I’ve got to say no one would have missed the beef! With competition for oven space coming to a head we had to move quickly. Serving began:

That haloumi cheese was really something though….

Now this being a birthday celebration other things were on offer. For example, sweets from the States:

French-style cupcakes…

Scotch-infused brownies…


and a delicious chocolate birthday cake….

The only problem was the huge amount of food on display meant I had quite a lot of beef left…

…but I’m sure I will think of something to do with it…

47 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Beef and Dumplings

  1. Pingback: The Perils of Slow Cooking | Happiness Stan Lives Here

  2. Funnily enough I made beef in beer tonight, and slow-cooked it! the dumplings will be for tomorrow… beef suet, nothing better! Great psot… I’m feeling a little hungry now!

  3. I’m making something similar tomorrow. This looks wonderful. As a kid my grandmother called this “Bubble and Squeak”. Have no idea if this still applies. There were always lovely plump dumplings to go with. I was surprised when I moved to Arkansas to discover that their dumplings were small and tubular. What? Anyhow, as usual looks fabulous.

    • Interestingly the cupcake and chocolate cake recipes come from Provence which isnt that far from Madrid! The sponge is much creamier and denser than we do in England and is basically a lot nicer than victoria sponge

    • They aren’t a pretty cut and you get sinue right through them but cook them long enough and low enough they go as tender as anything you can cook.

      As for the dumplings they contain beef suet (atora) which I believe is dehydrated rendered beef fat (yum, not) but really do make an impressive stodgy filling pastry –

  4. 1. I was going to say, “Crueset Rules” – but, that looks more like a Crueset knockoff.

    2. Have you tried baking bread in a pot like that? When you get all the variables wired – tough in my locale, altitude, little humidity – it rocks.

    • 1. Too right – I got that for £23 – a real one would have been more like £150
      2. No but I have seen that – but my issues are more around human error rather than enviromental variables when it comes to baking i think

      • I don’t think of it, nowadays; but, when I moved here 26 years ago – this valley is at 6500′ altitude, avg humidity <20% – from a lifetime at sea level, even grilling a hamburger changed. Cooking takes up to 10% longer, for example.

  5. Now that looks like something to really sit down & stuff my face with! I agree w/everyone about it just getting better as it sits for a day (maybe 2?).
    Are those Reese’s mini peanut butter cups I see? I love those things & hide a bag in my bedside table. Not that I’m protective about them, but I count them every night in case anyone finds them.
    And love that new pot.

  6. Looks amazing, I would love to be one of your neighbours on my best behaviour, and hopefully get some leftovers of that beef stew….

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