First, chop the onion and sage and fry in butter, add a dash of olive oil to prevent the butter from burning.
Turn up the heat add the beef and cook until browned.
Meanwhile chop your vegetables. I just wash and chop-I don’t bother peeling anything except the suede, even the butternut squash goes in with the skin on. Put all the chopped vegetables into the slow cooker or casserole dish.
Add the wine to the beef and onions and cook on high for 5 mins.
Transfer the contents of the frying pan to the slow cooker or casserole dish, mix everything together and add your beef stock and tomato puree. Salt and pepper to taste.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours. If you’re using a casserole dish cook in the oven at 160C/300F/gas 2 for four hours. Add your dumplings to the top of the stew for the last half hour of cooking time.
Once cooked the meat will be falling apart and the smell will be unbelievable. At this point you can chop your garlic, rosemary and grate your lemon zest mix it all together and sprinkle on top. It will make your stew sing and I promise you will never eat stew without this topping again.
For the next night to stretch out the portions a little, you could serve the stew with roast potatoes and green beans, or try it with warm crusty bread like this olive and cheese loaf.