Taking the #LivePeasant Challenge #ad

Parents today have an average of just 34 minutes free to prepare an evening meal. This isn't much time at all and Simply Beef and Lamb are encouraging us to take the Live Peasant challenge. The idea behind this is that they encourage you to reclaim traditional recipes which are quick to prepare, but cook slowly. In essence, you're letting your oven do the hard work, so you don't have to! Cooking slowly also means that you can use cheaper cuts of meat because if they are cooking for longer then they become more tender.

I decided to make beef stew and dumplings. It's easy to make and it can also be warmed up again later if, like us during the week, you don't eat with your children. To my surprise, both children loved the stew, and my husband announced that, in spite of it being my first time, the dumplings tasted good! I was very impressed with how affordable this meal is, and how simple it was to make.

beef stew and dumplings

I would recommend looking for the red tractor on the beef and lamb packaging as it is a quality mark which shows you can trust the farm is assured. "The assurance standards encompass food safety, animal welfare, environmental protection and traceability from farms to pack."

This recipe serves four people, or two adults and three children.

For the stew
2tbsp olive oil
25g/1oz butter
750g/1lb 10oz beef stewing steak (with the red tractor logo) chopped into bite sized pieces
2tbsps plain flour
2 garlic cloves, crushed
175g/6oz shallots peeled
150g/5oz carrots
1 pack button mushrooms
200g/7oz swede, cut into large chunks
150ml/5fl oz red wine
500ml/18fl oz beef stock
2 fresh bay leaves
3 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
Worcestershire sauce to taste
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, to taste
salt and freshly grounded black pepper

For the dumplings
125g/4.5oz plain flour, plus extra flour for dusting
1tsp baking poweder
pinch salt
60g/2.5 oz suet
water, to make dough (I used 5 tbsps)



  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4
  • For the beef stew, heat the oil and butter in an ovenproof casserole and fry the beef until browned on all sides
  • Sprinkle over the flour and cook for a further 2-3 minutes
  • Add the garlic and all the vegetables and fry for 1-2 minutes
  • Stir in the wine, stock and herbs, then add the Worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar, to taste. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Cover with a lid, transfer to the oven and cook for about two hours, or until the meat is tender
  • For the dumplings, sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
  • Add the suet and enough water to form a thick dough.
  • With floured hands, roll spoonfuls of the dough into small balls
  • After two hours, remove the lid from the stew and place the balls on top of the stew. Cover, return to the oven and cook for a further 20 minutes, or until the dumplings have swollen and are tender. If you would like a golden top to your dumplings then leave the lid off when returning to the oven.
  • To serve, place a spoonful of mashed potato onto each of four serving plates and top with the stew and dumplings.

Watch my video to see just how simple it is to make! It was so nice to prepare a meal whilst the children were at school and serve it when they were home, rather than rushing round trying to cook with them in the kitchen!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Simply Beef and Lamb