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Mutton Stew With Real Ale And Dumplings

Serves: 8


2.5kg diced mutton
4 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large onions
4 sticks celery
4 carrots
1 sprig thyme
1 tsp marmite
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 pints dark ale
1 bulb garlic, unpeeled
2 tbsp plain flour
50g (2oz) butter,soft

300g self raising flour
200g suet
pinch salt and pepper
2 tbsp chopped mixed herbs
200ml water


Brown the mutton in the oil bit by bit until golden. Remove the meat and chop the vegetables coarsely. Soften these in the rest of the oil. Put the meat back in. Add thyme. Mix in the marmite and puree and pour on the ale to cover the meat. Add garlic. Simmer for three hours on low heat or in the oven at 200oF/150oC/Gas Mark 2.
When the meat is tender, mix the flour with the butter and add it, a little at a time., to the stew. Stir until thick. Half an hour before you wish to eat, mix together the flour,suet,salt,pepper and herbs. Add water bit by bit until you have a gooey dough. Put a tavlespoon of the dough in each cup of a buttered muffin mould and bake at 350oF/180oC/Gas Mark4 for 30 minutes. Put a hot dumpling in each bowl of stew. Serve with the ale it was born of and hot,crusty bread.