Add game to the festive spread with Philippa Davis' game, ale and chestnut stew with cranberry and stilton dumplings


Feed the festive crowd with game this Christmas. Philippa Davis’ game, ale and chestnut stew with cranberry and stilton dumplings can be kept warm while you nip out to the carol service, or reheated at a moment’s notice when unexpected guests arrive.

For more festive feasting inspiration, Christmas is a great opportunity to encourage uninitiated guests to try game for the first time. Our partridge, parsnip, sweet onion and gruyere crostata can be served as part of the festive spread or as a light supper.

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This stew can be kept warm or heated up when needed. For the best results, the dumplings should be cooked 20 minutes before serving, which is the perfect amount of time to get your guests settled with a Christmas aperitif before tucking in.

Serves 10

Cranberry and Stilton Dumplings

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 110g beef suet
  • 220g stilton, grated
  • 75g dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 165g cold water

Game and Ale Stew

  • 1.5kg mixed game, chopped into casserole-size pieces
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large red onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 sticks celery, cut into 1cm pieces
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into 2cm pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 10 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 750ml ale
  • 500ml game stock or water
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 240g cooked chestnuts
  • 300g chestnut mushrooms

Mix all the ingredients for the dumplings, except the water, in a bowl.

Season with pepper then stir in the water.

Form into 20 balls (these can be kept on a tray in the fridge until needed).

To make the stew, toss the game and flour together.

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, brown the game in the olive oil then add the rest of the ingredients. Give it a good stir and season well.

Bring the mix to a simmer and cook with a lid on for 2½ hours, or until tender.

Add the dumplings and cook for another 20 minutes with the lid on (add a little more stock or water if necessary).

Serve straight away; delicious with mashed potato and greens.