8 tablespoons chopped chives or parsley, or a mixture
150ml (5fl oz) skimmed milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
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Method Prep:45min › Cook:3hr › Ready in:3hr45min
Heat the oven to 160°C (325°F, gas mark 3). Heat the oil in a large, heavy ovenproof casserole. Add the beef and cook, turning, to brown evenly. Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook until lightly browned, then stir in the sugar. Add the stock and bring to the boil.
Add the thyme, then cover the meat and vegetables with parchment paper. Top with a lid, bring to a simmer, then transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 hours, until the meat is just tender.
Meanwhile, make the dumplings. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the herbs and fork through to mix. Add the milk and oil and mix to a loose, coarse dough. Scrape the mixture from the bowl, adding a little more flour if necessary, and form into a long sausage. Cut into 12-16 pieces, then roll each into a ball. Chill on a floured tray until needed.
When the meat is tender, remove from the oven, season to taste and add the dumplings. Simmer gently over a low heat for 45 minutes until the dumplings are puffed and cooked. Serve with crusty bread.