Friday, 20 September 2013

Old Fashioned Beef Stew with Dumplings

Now there is just nothing wrong at all with a nice, hearty pot of beef stew is there? Especially with fluffy steamed dumplings! You almost forget all about comfort food by the end up summer after all those grilled, delicious steaks and burgers. But boy oh boy, when you take that first mouthful of pure old school pleasure, it's like pulling into your mom's driveway after four years away at university. I should add that the only reason I decided to make this meal today was that I had all my ingredients on hand, so I didn't have to go out the door to buy a thing. And that is always the deciding factor for me. Especially on a Friday when I quite look forward to having a nice glass of wine while I cook! (and I downloaded Blurred Lines, so I twerked alone in my kitchen all the while!) So let's get started.

You'll need:
a pound of stewing beef
2 peeled and sliced carrots
2 stalks of sliced celery
1 chopped onion
sliced mushrooms if you like
any kind of root vegetable you like (so you're getting the idea. Put whatever you like in your stew!)
1 box of beef broth (homemade is always best, but this is a great mid week meal, so boxed is fine)
1/2 cup of flour
1 Tsp of onion powder
1 Tsp of garlic powder
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp of fresh chopped rosemary
1 tsp of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
oil for browning the meat. I like Canola.
1 cup of red wine
2 large peeled and diced (to bite sized pieces) potatoes

Cut your stewing beef into bite sized pieces. Put your flour, onion powder, garlic powder and about a teaspoon each of salt and pepper into a freezer bag. Add the beef chunks and shake it all around to coat it. Heat the oil on medium heat and add the meat and all the flour. Let it brown for about 5 minutes, stirring it around. It will seem like a disaster because the flour will stick to the pot. Don't worry about that because the wine will get that deglazed in no time. Add your chopped onion and let that sauté for another 7 or 8 minutes. You're really going to think you're in trouble now because everything is really tight and sticking. So add a splash of wine and scrape the bottom of your pot with a wooden spoon to get all the bits up. Add your sliced celery and just smash your garlic and throw it in. Now add your full cup of wine and keep scraping the bottom of the pot. Add the full box of beef broth, the Worcestershire sauce and the chopped rosemary and thyme. If you're doing mushrooms or root vegetables, you can add these in now too. Reduce your heat to Medium Low and let this simmer for about 1 1/2 hours. Stir it often and scrape the bottom of the pot every time. Add your potatoes and carrots and let it simmer for another 30 minutes. Keep your lid on the pot the whole time. Taste for seasoning now and add some salt and pepper if needed.

Now for the dumplings, we're going to make them the easy way. No shortening or butter needed.
2 cups of flour sifted
4 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of milk
Stir it all together and it should be the consistency of mashed potatoes. Or just a tiny bit looser. If it's too dry, add a splash more milk. Now add a spoonful of the batter right on top of your simmering stew and go around the pot until you run out of room. Let them simmer on Med Low for 10 minutes with the lid off the pot. Then put the lid on and let them simmer for another 10 minutes. And that's it! Turn off the heat and let the pot just sit for at least twenty more minutes with the lid on to let everything cool off a bit. This would be way to scalding to try to eat right away!

To serve it, I like to put a dumpling in the middle of a pasta bowl and add a good ladle full of stew over the top of it. Feel free to garnish with some freshly chopped parsley. So awesome, better make lots! And who doesn't love a one pot meal? Cheers friends!

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