Mince and Dumplings – Hairy Bikers Mums know best

Aidan is a fan of the Hairy Bikers so when I asked him and Conor to make dinner for Monday evening Aidan reached for Mums Know Best: The Hairy Bikers’ Family Cookbook My only stipulation was they had 500g minced beef to use. This looked like a good option as we had all the ingredients, also we all like dumplings but sadly Conor is not keen on stew. I was slightly concerned it would be a bit plain in flavour. Jon made one change to the boys instructions and told them to brown the mince first then drain off the fat – obviously this recipe predates the Hairy Bikers diet! I came home in time for some questions on the dumplings, Aidan had added a little too much water so the dumpling mix was very sticky but that was easily fixed.

This was delicious, we will definitely be making this again! Dumplings puffed up beautifully doing them on the stove top like this. Mince was very tasty. I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised, I expected that it would be nice enough but hadn’t expected that it would be a dish I would say we’d make again. (I hope it wasn’t just that someone else had cooked dinner that made it taste so nice…). Photo isn’t great, we’d started eating before i remembered to take a picture. Quantities serve 6.


  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion, halved, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 500g/1lb 2oz beef mince
  • 1 x 400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 450ml/16fl oz beef stock
  • pinch caster sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

for the dumplings

  • 250g/9oz self raising flour
  • 125g/4½oz suet, shredded
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley


  1. For the mince, heat the oil in a large saucepan or flameproof casserole dish and cook the onion, garlic, celery and carrots for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened and lightly coloured. Add the beef and cook with the vegetables for a further five minutes until the mince begins to brown, stirring regularly to break up the meat.
  2. Add the tomatoes, tomato purée, beef stock, sugar and bay leaf. Add a good pinch of salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. To make the dumplings, put the flour in a bowl and stir in the suet, salt and parsley, rosemary and thyme. Make a well in the centre and add enough cold water – you’ll need around 200ml/7fl oz – to mix to a soft, spongy dough. Lightly flour your hands and roll the mixture into 12 small balls.
  4. Stir the mince well and remove from the heat. Drop the dumplings carefully on top of the mince then cover with a tightly fitting lid and return the pan to a medium heat. Cook for 18-20 minutes or until the dumplings are well risen (removing lid for last 10 minutes if you want golden dumplings.

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