Beef braised in Beer with Herb Dumplings

3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 lbs lean stewing beef , trimmed and cut in chunks
1/lb mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
6 medium onions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp flour
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups beef broth
2 cups dark ale
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
1 lb carrots, quartered lengthwise and cut into short pieces

Herb Dumplings

1 1/2 cups pastry flour
1/2 tsp each salt and sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp fresh parsley
6 tbsp butter or shortening
approximately 1/4 cup milk

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large heavy pot. Pat beef pieces dry and brown well in batches so the pan isn't crowded. As the meat browns, remove it to a side dish

In the same pot, adding a little more oil if needed, lightly brown mushrooms. Season and set aside. Add onions to pot and lightly brown over medium heat. Stir in garlic and cook for a few minutes. Return meat to pot, sprinkle with flour, season lightly, and toss over high heat for a couple of minutes.. Stir in stock, ale, brown sugar, vinegar and herbs. Gently bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and cover. Simmer in 325 oven for one hour. Add carrots after one hour. Stir in mushrooms before servings.
Shortly before serving, return contents of pot and simmer. Using a wet spoon, drop mounded teaspoonfuls of dumpling mixture on top. Cook, uncovered for 10 minutes. Then cover and cook for about 10 minutes until dumplings are cooked through. Taste one to be sure. Serve at once.
Freezes well

To Make Dumplings:

Mix dry ingredients and parsley together. Cut in butter or shortening until mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Stir enough milk into flour mixture to form a stiff light dough. Cook as described above or cook in a bamboo steamer basket over simmering water