Venison Stew with Cheese Crusted Dumplings

I remembered I had said I would do a post on Sussex Pond Pudding when I was talking about lemons last week, and I had indeed put together the makings of some suet crust pastry when I found myself hi jacked by a venison stew which came out of the oven just crying out for dumplings. So I'm afraid the Sussex Pond Pudding will have to wait for another day. I will do it though because I like it and I haven't made it for years.

The venison in this recipe was just some offcuts I had saved in the freezer from a very large joint of venison we had in the autumn, almost any cut would do, or you could use some stewing beef. It's quite a simple stew, but I think the dumplings just make it extra warming for a winter's supper. Perfect for night like tonight when I see we have yet another dose of freezing wet sleety stuff from on high. What a winter this has been.

1 pound/500g venison, or stewing beef
1 tablespoon flour
1 large onion
1 stick celery
1 large garlic clove
a few glugs of red wine about a third of a bottle if you can wrestle that much away from your husband
sprig thyme

Chop up the onion garlic and celery and fry in a little dripping or olive oil for a minute or two then add the floured venison and continue to cook until nicely browned. Add the wine and allow to bubble fiercely enough to drown out the howls of complaint about a waste of good wine...

Season well, transfer to a casserole and cook in a moderate oven for, depending on the cut of meat,about an hour, until the meat seems tender when prodded. Meanwhile make your dumplings and set aside until ready.

For the dumplings
4 oz/100g Self raising flour
2oz/50g Shredded suet
level teaspoon baking powder
salt pepper
pinch mixed herbs

Mix everything together in a bowl and add enough cold water to make a pliable but not sticky dough. Don't knead or handle the dough too much. Form into golf ball sized balls and drop onto the top of the casserole,

replace the lid and return to the oven for half an hour if you like your dumplings soft and fluffy, when they will have puffed up and be nestling snugly on top of the casserole like this -

If you like them with a crusty top, take off the lid after 10 minutes, brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with a little grated cheese. Return to oven without lid to brown.

Serve with root mash and green veg of choice.


  1. Stew and dumplings seem to be on most of our menus this week, I cooked a vegetarian version early this week and it was most welcome in this weather.I am sure your was too!

  2. Yes indeed, the best bit about this extended cold spell is the tendency towards proper winter fare designed to keep the cold out! Thanks for commenting.


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