Steak and Porter Casserole with Thyme Scented Dumplings

It is the dark beer with a strong taste which gives this casserole a deep, rich flavour and colour. Mustard, Worcestershire sauce and pepper add a little heat, whilst the vegetables and herbs bring sweetness and a lovely aroma to the casserole. Light and fluffy fresh thyme dumplings complete this delicious winter warmer.


Serves 4-6

Preparation Time

Cook time

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Cook's NoteThe upturned casserole lid makes an excellent plate to retain the vegetables and meat during the browning process.
Entertainer's TipThe casserole can be made in advance and chilled for up to 48 hours. Re-heat to piping hot before adding the dumplings and completing the recipe. A little extra liquid may be needed when reheating.
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  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 400g shallots – peeled and cut in two if large
  • 2 sticks celery – 1½ – 2cm diced
  • 2 medium carrots – 1½ – 2cm diced
  • 1.25 kg  braising steak – cut into 2½ cm dice
  • 4 tablespoons plain flour
  • 3 cloves garlic – crushed
  • 3 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon coarse grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 600ml  hot beef stock
  • 500ml bottled porter or stout beer
  • Salt to taste


  • 140g  plain flour + extra for rolling
  • 70g vegetable suet
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme – leaves picked
  • 2-3 tablespoons water

To finish: 3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley


Pre heat the oven to 170°C/fan 150°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil with the 2 tablespoons of butter in the casserole dish over a low to medium heat. Add the shallots, celery and carrots and sauté gently for 8-10 minutes until softened and lightly coloured. Remove the vegetables from the pot with a slotted spoon and set to one side.

Heat the second tablespoon of oil in the casserole; cook the diced meat in batches until lightly browned, removing each batch from the pan before adding the next. Adding the meat all at once will cause the temperature to drop and the meat will stew.

Return the meat and sautéd vegetables to the pot, sprinkle over the flour and stir in the garlic, tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and pepper.

Add the bay leaves and thyme, hot stock, and then stir in the beer. Bring to a simmer, place the lid on and transfer to the oven to cook 1½ – 1¾ hours.

Remove from the oven, stir and season to taste with a little salt. For the dumplings, increase the oven heat to 190°C/fan 170°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5. Combine the dry ingredients for the dumplings with the herbs and add enough cold water to bring the mixture together to form a soft dough. Portion into 8 pieces, lightly dust your hands with the extra flour and roll each piece into a ball. Place them on top of the casserole and replace the lid. Return the casserole dish to the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes until the dumplings are light and fluffy. Before serving finish with the chopped parsley.