Guinness Braised Short Rib Stew With Dumplings

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A rich & flavourful Guinness braised short rib stew, slow cooked for several hours & served with homemade suet dumplings. The ultimate Autumn comfort food!

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Guinness braised short rib stew dumplings

When the weather starts to turn cold, there’s nothing better than a well made stew!

For this recipe, we’re taking beef short ribs & braising them low & slow in a sauce made from Guinness, beef stock, veggies & herbs. The result is an incredibly rich, beef stew that’s packed full of tender, pulled short rib. If you’re after the best, warming comfort food, this is the recipe for you!

We’re not stopping there though. To make our stew even better, we’re topping it with a batch of fluffy, homemade suet dumplings. These are a classic accompaniment to a stew & are super quick & easy to make.

What Is A Stew?

To put it simply, a stew is when a tougher cut of meat is slow cooked in liquid. Typically this liquid would be wine, beer and/or stock & will also contain vegetables & fresh herbs. Once cooked, the meat will be incredibly tender & the liquid will have thickened into a sauce.

What Are Beef Short Ribs?

Beef short ribs are cut from the belly of a cow & are also known as a Jacob’s ladder. These are available to buy as either individual ribs or as a rack. For this recipe, we’re using individual ribs.

Short ribs are a well marbled cut of beef so need to be cooked low & slow until tender. This makes them a fantastic choice for braised dishes & stews and can be served pulled or left on the bone.

beef short ribs
Beef Short Ribs

Ingredients Used For Guinness Braised Beef Short Rib Stew

Beef Short Ribs

Our stew makes four portions, so we’ll be using four short ribs. Make sure to ask your butcher for individual ribs, left on the bone. To get the most out of them, they need to be slow cooked over several hours, until tender.


A stout like Guinness works incredibly well with the rich flavour from beef short ribs. If you don’t have Guinness, any stout will work or even a red wine.

Onion, Carrot, Celery & Garlic

A good stew needs a good vegetable base. The onion & celery is cut small so that they disappear into the sauce & the carrots are cut chunkier so they keep some texture. If you wanted to add extra veggies, some diced potato, parsnip or turnip would be a good choice.

Fresh Herbs

To add some extra flavour to our stew, we’re adding in bay leaves, rosemary & thyme. Make sure to pick out the bay leaves & any stalks before serving.

Beef Stock

As we’re using beef short ribs, we’re also be using beef stock as part of our braising liquid. You can either use a homemade stock or dissolve a stock cube in boiling water. The stew will taste great either way.

Worcestershire Sauce

For an extra flavour boost, we’re adding in a splash of Worcestershire sauce into our stew at the very end. We only need to use a tablespoon but this is enough to enhance the richness from our beef ribs.


There’s a few ways you can thicken a stew’s sauce. Traditionally, we’d add some plain flour in at the beginning of the braise but I like to use cornflour & add it in once the meat is cooked. This gives us more control of how thick the sauce will be.

Gravy Browning

We’re using this to give our stew a deep, rich colour. Only a few drops are needed so use it sparingly!

beef stew

How To Make Guinness Braised Short Rib Stew

To make the short ribs as tender as possible, they need to be cooked at a low temperature over several hours. You’ll know when they’re cooked as they will be falling off the bone & will pull apart easily.

Step 1 – Searing Short Ribs

For the best flavour, the ribs need to be seared well on each side before being braised. To do this, first heat two tablespoons of veg oil up in a large pan then add in the beef & brown well all over. Seasoning the ribs with salt first helps improve the sear.

Step 2 – Braising

Once the beef ribs are seared, they are removed from the pan & set aside. Then it’s time to make the braising liquid.

First, we add our diced veg into the beef searing pan & cook until soft. Next, we stir in grated garlic & a spoonful of tomato paste then deglaze the pan with Guinness. Beef stock is then added along with fresh herbs & our seared beef. This is then brought to a simmer then the pan is covered & transferred to a low temperature oven.

The stew is now cooked until the beef is super tender. You’ll when it’s done because the meat will be soft & almost falling off the bone. This will take around 3 hours.

Step 3 – Finishing The Sauce

Now the beef short ribs are cooked, it’s time to finish the sauce.

The beef ribs should first be removed from the sauce & set aside. Next, we place the pan of sauce over a medium heat & bring it to a boil.

In the meantime, we mix cornflour & cold water together to make a slurry. This is then mixed into the boiling sauce then cooked out for 2-3 minutes. A splash of Worcestershire sauce is added as well as a generous amount salt & pepper.

Time to add the beef. Using a pair of tongs, a fork or our hands (latex gloves come in handy here!), we pull the meat into shreds, making sure to discard any sinew & bones. The pulled meat is then mixed into the sauce along with some chopped parsley.

Step 4 – Serving

At this point, we can either serve the stew as it is or top it with dumplings & bake. To keep things traditionally, I’d recommend making dumplings. These are super easy to make & can be made in around 5 minutes.

parsley suet dumplings
The stew & dumplings, ready to bake

How To Make Dumplings

These dumplings couldn’t be easier to make! The only thing to watch, is how much water is added to the flour. The dough should be soft & slightly sticky but not overly wet, we need to be able to shape them…

Step 1 – Making The Dough

The first step is to mix together self raising flour & salt. Next, we add in some cold butter & rub in until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Some suet (beef or veg) & parsley is added in next.

To bring the dough together, we need to add cold water in a spoonful at a time until a rough dough forms. Make sure not to add too much!

Step 2 – Shaping

To shape, simply cut the dough into 6 even pieces (or 8 if you’d prefer smaller dumplings) then place on top of the stew.

Step 3 – Cooking

The final step is to cook the stew & dumplings until the meat is piping hot & the dumplings are golden brown. This will take around 20-25 minutes.

Once cooked, the stew is best served immediately.

parsley dumpling dough
The parsley dumpling dough

What To Serve With Stew

This stew is great served on its’ own or with some roasted veg or mashed potato. If you wanted to take this dish a step further, I’d go with some super crispy roast potatoes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to use Guinness?

You can’t wrong with a bottle of Guinness but if you don’t have any, almost any type of stout will work. You could also use a lighter beer or a red wine.

Can a different cut of beef be used?

If you wanted to use a different cut of beef, make sure that is suitable for braising. Oxtail, chuck or shin would be a good choice.

Can I flavour the dumplings?

This dumpling recipe makes a great base for adding in extra flavourings. Some cheddar, blue cheese or grated garlic would work well!

How do I store & reheat leftover stew?

Although this stew is best eaten straight away, it can be reheated. Either in a saucepan or in the oven.
I would recommend cooking dumplings fresh though. Just make sure that the stew is hot before topping with the dumplings.

Cooking In An Aga

With all of my recipes, I include cooking instructions for conventional ovens, fan ovens & also Agas.

To braise the beef, place the pan on the floor of the baking oven & place a cold plain shelf two shelves above. Sear the beef & finish the sauce on the boiling plate.
For the dumplings, cook in the baking oven on the second set or runners from the bottom.

herb and braised beef ribs

Equipment Used

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Guinness Braised Beef Short Rib Stew With Dumplings

A rich & flavourful Guinness braised short rib stew, slow cooked for several hours & served with homemade suet dumplings. The ultimate Autumn comfort food!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time3 hours 30 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: English, Irish
Servings: 4 People
Author: Ben Racey


  • Large Saucepan
  • Microplane/Grater
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Large Baking Dish


Braised Short Ribs

  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 4 Beef Short Ribs On The Bone
  • 2 Large White Onions Peeled
  • 3 Celery Sticks Washed
  • 3 Carrots Peeled
  • 4 Cloves Garlic Grated
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 500 ml Guinness
  • 750 ml Beef Stock
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 5 Sprigs Rosemary
  • 5 Sprigs Thyme
  • 2 tbsp Cornflour
  • Gravy Browning
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Chopped Parsley

Parsley Dumplings

  • 200 g Self Raising Flour
  • ¼ tsp Table Salt
  • 50 g Unsalted Butter Chilled & Diced
  • 50 g Suet
  • 1 tbsp Chopped Parsley


  • Preheat an oven to 150°c/130°c fan (300°f/265°f).
  • Next, cut the onions & celery into a medium dice & cut the carrots into a large dice (1-2cm in size). Mix the veg together & set aside.
  • Pour the vegetable oil into a large saucepan & place over a high heat. Whilst the pan is heating up, season the short ribs all over with salt.
  • Carefully place the short ribs into the hot oil & sear well on all sides.
  • Once seared, remove the ribs from the pan, transfer to a plate & set aside.
  • Add the diced veg into the pan & cook until softened, stirring almost constantly. This will take around 4-5 minutes.
  • Stir in the grated garlic & cook for a further 30 seconds.
  • Next, add in the tomato paste, stir to coat the veg then deglaze the pan with the Guinness.
  • Add in the beef stock, the seared beef ribs & the herbs. Season with salt & pepper then bring to a simmer.
  • Cover the pan with either a heatproof lid or foil then place in the preheated oven.
    Cook for 2-3 hours or until the beef is tender & starting to fall off the bones.
  • Once cooked, remove the short ribs from the sauce & set aside.
    Pick out the bay leaves & any herb stalks from the sauce then set the pan over a medium heat & bring to a boil.
  • In a bowl, stir together the cornflour & 2 tbsp of cold water. Pour into the sauce along with a couple of drops of gravy browning, mix to combine then cook out for 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in the Worcestershire sauce & season with salt & pepper then take the sauce off the heat.
  • Pull the meat off the short ribs, discarding any bones & sinew then mix into the sauce with the chopped parsley. Transfer the stew into a large heatproof dish & set aside.

Parsley Dumplings

  • Turn the oven up to 180°c/160°c fan (355°f/320°f).
  • Place the self raising flour & salt into a mixing bowl then add in the butter. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
  • Next, add in the suet & chopped parsley then mix to combine.
    Add in enough cold water to form a rough dough (start with 2 tbsp then add more if needed) then tip out onto a clean worksurface.
  • Divide the dough into 6 pieces then roll into balls.
  • Place the dumplings on top of the stew then transfer to the oven & cook for 20-25 minutes. The dumplings should be golden brown & the stew, piping hot.
  • The stew is now ready & should be served immediately.


To cook in an Aga.
To braise, place the pan on the floor of the baking oven & place a cold plain shelf two shelves above. Sear the beef & finish the sauce on the boiling plate.
For the dumplings, cook in the baking oven on the second set or runners from the bottom.
Either vegetable or beef suet can be used for the dumplings.
I used Guinness to braise the short ribs in but any stout will work.
To give the stew a deep colour, a few drops of gravy browning is added. This is entirely optional & you only need to use a tiny amount.

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