Slowly, slowly


James Martin’s “Slow” is full of beautiful pictures and ideas.  The concept is that all the recipes take over an hour to cook, leaving you time to get on with other things while your oven does the work.  I have a number of James Martin cookbooks, and have always found them to be quite complicated.  This one seems a little different.  I don’t have a slow cooker myself, but a friend recent;y got one as a present, and I wanted to try out a few recipes that I thought she might use in it.

Beef stew is a household staple for most, so this is the recipe I thought I would try first.

Beef Stew with Dumplings
Beef Stew with Dumplings

The stew ingredients are similar to other stews I’ve done, and the method easy to follow.  I chopped all the veg first to have them ready to go.  The recipe calls for beef dripping, which I didn’t have so I used butter with a little drop of oil to reduce the possibility of burning.

Veg ready for the stew
Veg ready for the stew

Then I browned the floured and seasoned beef pieces.

Well Seasoned Beef Pieces
Well Seasoned Beef Pieces

I have learnt the best way to brown meat is to stay strong and leave it alone, no faffing or constant stirring.  This is then removed and the veg added.  This is where it has differed from some other recipes.  At this stage he wants you to gently sweat the vegetables.  Then re-add the meat, and increase the heat as you add the wine.  There was not a lot of wine in the ingredients, so it really got swallowed up straight away.  I added the stock (not my own unfortunately- haven’t got around to making my own beef stock yet), brought it back to the simmer and popped it into the preheated oven, with a lid on.

Adding the wine and reducing down
Adding the wine and reducing down

After two hours the dumplings get added.  These were easy to make, but I found that they needed more water than indicated.

Dumplings ready to go.
Dumplings ready to go.

Thie stew was finished 30 minutes later.  I would say my total prep time was 45 minutes, and that was being generous.  Family vote- 8.5/10.  Which is good let me tell you (got a 9.5/10 for the first time ever on a cake last night- they truly are my biggest critics).

James Martin- Slow- Beef stew with dumplings
James Martin- Slow- Beef stew with dumplings
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