Hearty Casserole – International Stout Day

Here’s one of our favourite casserole recipes from Mel’s Kitchen

Now is the time when the nights draw in, the rain lashes at the window and the fire is roaring in the grate keeping us warm and toasty. That’s if you’re lucky enough to have an open fire! I’m not, so I have to rely on lovely hearty casseroles to keep me warm.

Here’s one that will appeal to the meat lovers amongst you and combined with some fluffy, herby dumplings it was a sure fire winner with Alan, my other half. I’ve used stout to give a scrumptious, mellow flavour to the gravy and as its International Stout Day (who knew there was such a thing) this was an ideal time to share this recipe. I cooked it in my slow cooker, but it’s easily cooked in the oven so I’ve given instructions for both methods. Serve with your choice of vegetables and creamy mash for a traditional hearty meal.

Spicy Beef Casserole with Stout

Ingredients (serves 4 – 6)

1 tbsp oil

800g stewing beef (I used shin)

3 onions, peeled and sliced

2 garlic cloves, skinned and crushed

1 heaped tbsp plain flour

½ tsp ground ginger

1 tsp medium-hot curry powder

2 tsp dark brown soft sugar

300ml beef stock (400ml if cooking in the oven)

200ml stout

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper

250g button mushrooms – wiped

Creamed horseradish (optional), to serve


For the Dumplings

100g self-raising flour

50g suet

Pinch of salt

1 heaped tsp dried mixed herbs

Cold water



If cooking in the oven preheat to 170C/Fan 150C/Gas 3. Or plug in your slow cooker and turn it on to warm up.

Trim the beef of any excess fat and cut into small chunks. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry until browned; you may need to do this in batches.

Lower the heat and add the onions and garlic. Then stir in the flour, spices and sugar and cook, stirring for one or two minutes. Add the stock, stout and Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Bring to the boil and cook for a couple of minutes then transfer carefully either to a casserole dish with a lid, or to the slow cooker.

In the slow cooker, cook on high for 30 minutes then turn to medium and cook for 5 – 7 hours.  One hour before serving lift the lid, give everything a stir and throw in the mushrooms. Turn the heat up to high.

In the oven, cook for 2 hours, then add the mushrooms and put back in the oven.

To make the dumplings, mix the flour, suet, salt and herbs in a basin. Add enough cold water to make a soft dough. Don’t overwork the dough or the dumplings will be tough. Coat your hands with flour and gently form into 8 balls. Place on top of the casserole, cover and carry on cooking for 45 minutes in the slow cooker and 30 – 40 mins in the oven.  I’ve found that you can leave dumplings safely in the slow cooker for some time if you’re not quite ready to serve. Just turn the heat to low.

Serve with veg and mash and for an extra kick you can add a dollop of creamed horseradish!

If you have leftovers you can freeze the casserole for another time, but dumplings don’t freeze very well, so just make enough for one meal and make fresh next time.

I hope you enjoy this heart-warming recipe!

Melody x