Phil Vickery's slowing it down in the kitchen with a recipe for a special beef stew for the bank holiday weekend.
He says: The secret to any stew is slow cooking, the slower the better. Generally speaking the cheaper the cut of meat the longer it will take to cook, but you will end up with a far tastier dish than just a plain steak, so go on try it!
500g of 4cm cubed chuck steak
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp plain flour
½ tbsp tomato puree
2 beef stock cubes, crumbled
3 tbsp Worcester sauce
Roughly 1 pint of boiling water
2 tsp fresh chopped thyme
2 tsp sugar
2 small onions, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and roughly cubed
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the dumplings:
225g self raising flour
115g beef or vegetable suet
2 pinches salt
1 medium egg
4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
3 tbsp creamed hot horseradish
A little cold water to bind
Preheat the oven to 160°C, Gas 3.
Using kitchen paper, pat the meat dry, then heat 1 tbsp of oil in a deep casserole dish ovenproof pan.
Next, add half the meat and cook until nicely browned all over. Repeat the process with 1 tbsp of the vegetable oil and diced chuck steak.
Sprinkle on the flour and stir in well, let the flour catch slightly, this helps to give the sauce a nice colour.
Then add the tomato puree, stock cube, Worcester sauce, water, thyme and sugar.
Heat the other 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan and add the onion, carrot and garlic and cook gently until softened and golden brown.
Tip the onion mixture into the casserole dish with the beef and stir together.
Season well with salt and pepper and bring to a gentle simmer, cover with a tight fitting lid.
Place in the pre heated oven and cook for 1½ hours, nice and gently, remove the stew from the oven.
After 1½ hours make the dumplings, by placing the flour, salt, suet, parsley, horseradish and egg into a bowl.
Mix well and add enough cold water to form a soft dough. The mixture must be soft but not sloppy. Break off 8 small pieces and roll them into small balls. Place them on top of the stew.
Return the pan to the oven uncovered and cook for a further 35-45 minutes, or until the dumplings are nicely browned and crunchy.