For the mince
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, peeled, finely sliced
2 medium carrots, diced
500g/1lb 2oz lean beef mince
1 x 400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
350ml/12fl beef stock
150ml/5fl oz red wine
pinch caster sugar
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the dumplings
250g/10oz self-raising flour, plus extra for rolling
125g/5oz shredded beef suet
½ tsp fine sea salt
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Heat the oil in a large saucepan or flameproof casserole and cook the onion, garlic, celery and carrots for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft and pale golden-brown.
Add the minceand cook for a further five minutes.
Add the tomatoes, tomato purée, beef stock, red wine, sugar and bay leaf. Add a good pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
For the dumplings, put the flour in a bowl and stir in the suet, salt and parsley. 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. Use lightly floured hands to roll into 12 small balls.
Place the dumplings carefully on top of the mince. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook over a medium heat for 18-20 minutes, or until the dumplings are cooked through and well risen.