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Beef in Stout with Herb Dumplings

Beef in Stout with Herb Dumplings

The first known use of the word stout in reference to beer is in a document dated 1677 from the British Museum’s Egerton Collection. Originally, it referred to any beer with a high alcohol content. Porter, a dark beer style made from brown malted barley, emerged in London sometime in the 1720s and quickly became very popular. Later, the term stout porter gained currency, referring to a porter with a high alcohol content. Over time, however, the term stout by itself came to be associated primarily with those beers that had an especially dark, rich color and that is how the term is used today.

Porter beer had made its way to Ireland by the late 18th Century and by 1820 the famous Irish brewery, Guinness, was producing a stout porter. In the nearly two centuries since, that stout porter has evolved into the quintessential Irish stout. Other Irish brewers such as Murphy’s and Beamish followed suit, also producing fine Irish stouts. Of course, it was only natural that such a rich, flavorful brew should find its way into the kitchen.

In this delicious stew, cubes of beef are browned and then allowed to cook until incredibly tender. Irish stout forms the basis of a rich gravy. To contrast with the full-bodied gravy, we’ve made the dumplings lighter and fluffier than most. A final dash of parsley adds a fresh herb flavor and a splash of color.


Serves 6.

Time to Make

At least 2 hours, 45 minutes
and up to 3 hours, 15 minutes

Shopping List

  • 2 large onions
  • 8 medium carrots
  • ½ bunch fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 2¾ pounds boneless beef short ribs
  • 1 ounce vegetable oil
  • 5 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¼ ounce table salt
  • ¼ ounce ground black pepper
  • 16 fluid ounces Irish stout beer (such as Guinness)
  • ½ ounce dark brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ ounce baking powder
  • ¼ cup shredded beef suet or 1 ounces shortening

Equipment List

  • Dutch oven


  • 2 large onions
  • 8 medium carrots
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 2¾ pounds boneless beef short ribs (or center-cut beef shanks)

Halve the onions, remove the outer skin layers, then slice thinly. Peel the carrots, slice thickly on the bias, and then set them aside with the onions. Mince the parsley coarsely. Mince the thyme finely, keeping it separate from the parsley. Then cut the beef into ½-inch cubes. Finally, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • prepared onions & carrots from step 1
  • ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground ground black pepper
  • prepared beef from step 1
  • Dutch oven

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or other pot. Add the onions and carrots and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent. While the vegetables cook, put the flour in a gallon-sized plastic zip-top bag and add the salt and pepper. Add the beef to the bag, seal the top, and shake well to coat. Reserve any seasoned flour that does not adhere to the beef.

  • 2 cups Irish stout beer (such as Guinness)
  • 2 teaspoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • prepared thyme from step 1

Remove the onions and carrots from the pot with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add as much beef to the dish as will fit without overlapping, and cook, stirring frequently, until browned all over. Repeat with the remaining beef as needed. Return all the meat and the onions and carrots to the pot and sprinkle in the reserved seasoned flour. Pour in the stout and add the sugar, bay leaves, and thyme then stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover, transfer to the preheated oven and cook for 1 hour and 45 minutes.

  • 4 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • ¼ cup shredded beef suet or shortening
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (from step 1)
  • ¼ cup water

While the stew bakes in the oven, add the flour, baking powder, and salt to a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the suet (or shortening) and use a fork to combine. Add the parsley and about half of the water and combine. Add just enough of the remaining water to make a soft dough. Shape the dough into small balls between the palms of your hands. After the stew has been in the oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes, add the dumplings to the pot and return it to the oven for an additional 30 minutes.

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (from step 1)

Remove the dish from the oven. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately.