Beef in Beer with dumplings

Points per recipe: 25˝
Per serving 6˝

Serves 4
Preparation time: 25 Minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
Calories per serving: 405
Freezing recommended.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
500g (1lb 2 oz) lean braising (Casserole) steak, cubed
2 medium onions cut into chunks.
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 tablespoon plain flour
300 ml (1/2 pint) strong dark ale
300-ml (1/2 pint) beef stock
1 bay leaf
Few sprigs of fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried.
150g (9oz) open mushrooms, halved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g (3˝ oz) plain flour
A pinch of salt
2 teaspoons dried mustard powder
40g (1˝ oz) low-fat spread
1 tablespoon finely shopped fresh chives.

1. Preheat the over to Gas Mark 3/170oC/325oF. Hat the oil in a flameproof casserole dish and brown the meat all over. Remove with a slotted spoon. Add the onions and celery and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Sprinkle in the flour and gradually blend in the beer and stock. Add the bay leaf and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and transfer to the oven to cook for 1˝ hours.
3. Meanwhile, make the dumplings. Sift the flour, salt and mustard into a bowl. Rub in the low-ft spread until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the chives and add just enough cold water to make a soft dough. Shape into eight small dumplings. Chill until required
4. After 1˝ hours, remove the lid from the casserole, stir in the mushrooms and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Increase the oven temperature to Gas Mark 6 / 200 oC/400oF. Arrange the dumplings over the surface of the casserole and transfer to the highest shelf in the oven, without the lid and cook for a further 30 minutes until the dumplings are golden brown and crusty.
TIP TOP: If you have a slow cooker, this recipe lends itself to long gentle cooking, so adapt the recipe according to the manufacturers instructions.

VARIATIONS: Vary the dumplings by replacing the mustard and chives with the same quantity of horseradish and parsley.