This rich beef stew, based on a carbonade, becomes a meal-in-one
with the addition of some dumplings.
2 tbspolive oil1 kg pieceboneless beef shin (see note)For dusting:seasoned plain flour50 gmbutter, coarsely chopped3onions, thinly sliced80 gmflat mild pancetta, diced3garlic cloves, finely chopped1 litre (4 cups)veal stock660 mlBelgian beer4thyme sprigs, plus extra finely chopped leaves to serve2 tbspbrown sugar, or to taste2 tspDijon mustard, or to tasteHerb dumplings35 gmchilled butter, coarsely chopped150 gm(1 cup) self-raising flour1 tbspcoarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves1 tspfinely chopped thyme
Preheat oven to 150C. Heat half the oil over high heat in a saucepan that will fit the beef snugly. Dust beef in seasoned flour, add to pan and cook, turning once, until browned (5-7 minutes), remove from pan. Add butter, onion, pancetta, garlic and remaining oil to pan and stir occasionally until caramelised (15 minutes). Add veal stock, beer, thyme and beef, cover and roast until beef is tender (3-3½ hours). Remove beef and onions from sauce with a slotted spoon, cover with foil and keep warm, then cook sauce over high heat until reduced by half (20-30 minutes). Skim excess oil from surface and season to taste with brown sugar and mustard.
Meanwhile, for herb dumplings, process butter and flour to combine, then add 50ml water or enough to make a scone-like dough. Transfer dough to a bowl, add herbs, season to taste and knead until combined. Roll into 18 evenly sized balls, then add to sauce and turn occasionally over low-medium heat until dumplings are puffed and cooked through (10-15 minutes). Carefully remove dumplings with a slotted spoon, then add beef to sauce. Place dumplings on top and roast in oven until beef is warmed through (15 minutes). Serve beef sliced or pulled into pieces with dumplings and sauce, scattered with extra thyme.
Note You may need to order the beef shin ahead
from a butcher.