James Martin Beef Stew And Dumplings

James Martin Beef Stew And Dumplings
Yields: 6 Servings Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 2 Hr Cook Time: 30 Mins Total Time: 2 Hr 30 Mins

James Martin Beef Stew and Dumplings is a hearty, comforting dish that features tender beef chunks simmered in a rich, flavorful gravy, paired with light, fluffy dumplings. It’s perfect for warming up on a cold day or as a satisfying family dinner.

This recipe serves 4-6 people and can be prepared in approximately 2 to 2.5 hours.

What is James Martin Beef Stew and Dumplings?

James Martin Beef Stew and Dumplings is a traditional British dish where beef is slow-cooked with vegetables and broth, and topped with soft, savory dumplings.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Comforting and Satisfying: This dish is perfect for those chilly days when you need something warm and filling.
  • Simple Ingredients: Uses common ingredients you likely already have in your pantry and fridge.
  • Easy to Make: Despite its rich flavors, this recipe is straightforward and doesn’t require advanced cooking skills.
  • Family-Friendly: A dish that both kids and adults will enjoy, making it great for family dinners.
  • Versatile: You can easily customize the vegetables or even add your own twist to the dumplings.

James Martin Beef Stew And Dumplings

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Ingredients Needed to Make James Martin Beef Stew and Dumplings

  • Beef Chuck: 1 kg (2.2 lbs), cut into large chunks. This cut is ideal for slow cooking.
  • Onions: 2 large, chopped. They add a sweet, savory base to the stew.
  • Carrots: 3 medium, sliced. For added sweetness and texture.
  • Celery Sticks: 2, chopped. Adds depth of flavor.
  • Garlic: 3 cloves, minced. For a rich, aromatic touch.
  • Beef Stock: 1 liter (4 cups). This forms the base of the stew.
  • Tomato Paste: 2 tablespoons. Adds a slight tang and deepens the color.
  • Thyme: 2 sprigs, fresh. For an earthy, aromatic flavor.
  • Bay Leaves: 2. Adds a subtle, herby note.
  • Salt and Pepper: To taste.

For the Dumplings:

  • Self-Raising Flour: 200 g (7 oz). Creates light and fluffy dumplings.
  • Suet: 100 g (3.5 oz). Traditional fat is used in dumplings.
  • Cold Water: As needed, to bring the dough together.
  • Parsley: 2 tablespoons, chopped. Adds a fresh, herby touch to the dumplings.


  • Large pot or Dutch oven
  • Chopping board and knife
  • Wooden spoon
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups and spoons

Instructions to Make James Martin Beef Stew and Dumplings

Step 1. Prepare the Ingredients

  • Chop the Vegetables: Dice the onions, slice the carrots, and chop the celery.
  • Cut the Beef: Trim any excess fat and cut the beef into large chunks.

Step 2. Brown the Beef

  • Heat the Pot: Add a splash of oil to the pot over medium-high heat.
  • Sear the Beef: Brown the beef chunks in batches, ensuring a good sear on all sides. Remove and set aside.

Step 3. Cook the Vegetables

  • Sauté the Onions: In the same pot, add the onions and cook until softened.
  • Add Carrots and Celery: Cook for a few more minutes until slightly tender.
  • Garlic: Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.

Step 4. Build the Stew

  • Combine Ingredients: Return the beef to the pot, add the tomato paste, and stir to coat.
  • Add Liquid: Pour in the red wine and beef stock.
  • Herbs and Seasoning: Add thyme, bay leaves, salt, and pepper.

Step 5. Simmer the Stew

  • Bring to a Boil: Increase heat until the stew begins to boil.
  • Reduce and Simmer: Lower the heat, cover, and let it simmer for about 1.5 to 2 hours, until the beef is tender.

Step 6. Make the Dumplings

  • Mix Ingredients: In a bowl, combine self-raising flour, suet, and parsley.
  • Form Dough: Gradually add cold water until the dough comes together.
  • Shape Dumplings: Divide the dough into small balls.

Step 7. Cook the Dumplings

  • Add to Stew: Place the dumplings on top of the stew.
  • Cover and Cook: Cover the pot and cook for an additional 20 minutes until the dumplings are cooked through and fluffy.

James Martin Beef Stew And Dumplings

What Do I Serve With James Martin Beef Stew and Dumplings?

  • Mashed Potatoes: Creamy potatoes complement the rich stew.
  • Crusty Bread: Perfect for soaking up the delicious gravy.
  • Green Beans: Adds a fresh, crunchy side.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Enhances the meal with more textures and flavors.
  • Simple Salad: A light, refreshing side to balance the hearty stew.

Pro Tips to Make Perfect James Martin Beef Stew and Dumplings

  • Sear the Beef Well: This adds depth of flavor to the stew.
  • Don’t Rush the Simmering: Slow cooking ensures the beef becomes tender and flavorful.
  • Use Fresh Herbs: They provide a more vibrant flavor than dried.
  • Don’t Overcrowd the Pot: Brown the beef in batches to get a good sear.
  • Check Dumplings for Doneness: Make sure they are fully cooked before serving.

Variations of James Martin Beef Stew and Dumplings

  • Add Root Vegetables: Parsnips or turnips can add extra flavor.
  • Spice it Up: A pinch of chili flakes can add a subtle heat.
  • Use Different Herbs: Rosemary or sage can be used for a different flavor profile.
  • Try Beer Instead of Wine: Adds a different depth of flavor to the stew.
  • Vegetarian Option: Use vegetable stock and add more root vegetables in place of beef.

How do I Store James Martin Beef Stew and Dumplings Leftovers?

  • Refrigerate: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Freeze: Portion out into containers and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Separate Dumplings: If possible, store dumplings separately to maintain their texture.
  • Label and Date: Always label and date your containers for easy tracking.

How do I Reheat James Martin Beef Stew and Dumplings Leftovers?

  • Stovetop: Reheat gently over low heat until warmed through.
  • Microwave: Heat in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring occasionally.
  • Oven: Place in an oven-safe dish and cover with foil, reheating at 180°C (350°F) until hot.
  • Add a Splash of Stock: If the stew has thickened too much, add a little stock to loosen it.
  • Check Dumplings: Ensure dumplings are heated through properly before serving.

Nutrition Value (per serving):

  • Calories: 450
  • Protein: 35g
  • Carbohydrates: 40g
  • Fat: 15g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Sugar: 6g
  • Sodium: 800mg


How do you keep dumplings from falling apart in beef stew?

To keep dumplings from falling apart in beef stew, ensure that you do not overmix the dough. Gently combine the ingredients until they just come together. When placing the dumplings in the stew, make sure the stew is gently simmering and cover the pot to let them steam and cook through without disturbance.

Can I make James Martin Beef Stew and Dumplings ahead of time?

Yes, you can make the beef stew portion of the recipe ahead of time and refrigerate it for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, reheat the stew on the stovetop and prepare the dumplings fresh to ensure they stay light and fluffy.

What is the best cut of beef for James Martin Beef Stew and Dumplings?

The best cut of beef for this stew is beef chuck. This cut is ideal for slow cooking as it becomes tender and flavorful when simmered for a long period. Alternatively, you can use beef brisket or shin, both of which also work well for stewing.

How do you thicken beef stew for dumplings?

To thicken beef stew for dumplings, you can mix a slurry of cornstarch and cold water (1 tablespoon of cornstarch to 2 tablespoons of water) and stir it into the stew. Allow it to simmer for a few minutes until the stew thickens to your desired consistency. Alternatively, you can mash some of the cooked vegetables into the stew to naturally thicken it.

Final Words

James Martin Beef Stew and Dumplings is a classic dish that brings warmth and comfort to any table. With its tender beef, rich gravy, and fluffy dumplings, it’s a recipe worth mastering. Follow these steps and tips, and you’ll have a delicious, hearty meal that will become a family favorite. Enjoy!

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