Autumn is here so it's time to start making casseroles and stews. This is one of my favourites and like all casseroles it gets better on the second night so I always make plenty! The red grape juice adds a nice sweetness to the juices.
500g stewing beef (leg or skirt is best) in 2cm chunks
2 fist sized turnips or the same amount of swede diced into 2cm chunks
1 large parsnip cut into 2cm chunks
2 medium onions cut into wedges
2 cloves of garlic crushed
2 medium carrots cut into chunks
large handful of pearl barley
750-1000ml red grape juice
6-8 juniper berries crushed
salt and pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tblspn vegetable oil
Coat the meat in seasoned flour and fry in a large casserole or saucepan until browned - do this in batches. Remove meat from pan and add the vegetables and cook for a few minutes to pick up some colour. Add a little of the grape juice to deglaze the pan then add the meat, the herbs and spices, pearl barley and red grape juice, enough just to cover the rest of the ingredients. Bring to the boil pop a lid on then either simmer on the hob or put in a medium oven (150C) for 2-3 hours stirring occasionally adding more grape juice if needed.
20 minutes before serving make the dumplings (1/2 oz suet, 1oz flour a little water and creamed horseradish to make a soft dough per dumpling) and add them to the casserole to steam for 20 minutes or so. Serve in a bowl with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.