Oct 5, 2012

How to Boil Water: Beef Stew with Dilly Dumplings

It's been awhile since I have cooked. This whole gestational diabetes has gotten the best of me at times, plus I've been exhausted and far too lazy to cook. But I'm back. I'm back and I'm cooking again.

The weather has cooled down....finally! And what's better than something warm for dinner. Which is exactly what we did this evening. I decided to try out this recipe, which comes from the Taste of Home Cookbook (which is a great cookbook if you're looking for one). I know this recipe is not one I would usually make, but I'm feeling adventurous and wanting something a little warm. But I should warn you, if you decide this recipe is one you too want to conquer then make sure to give yourself plenty of time because it takes quite a bit of time. But without further ado....

Ingredients:
(Beef Stew)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/8 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 cups water
2 cups sliced fresh carrots
2 cups cubed peeled potatoes
3 celery ribs, sliced
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf

(Dumplings)
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dill weed
1 egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup fat-free milk
1 tablespoon canola oil

Directions:
1. In a resealable plastic bag, combine flour, 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add meat; seal bag and shake to coat.
2. In a large saucepan, brown beef in oil in batches. Add water, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan. Return meat to pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour.
3. Add the carrots, potatoes, celery, onions, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and remaining salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until meat and vegetables are tender.
4. For dumplings, in a large bowl, combine the flour, parsley, baking powder, salt, thyme, and dill. Combine the egg, milk, and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
5. Discard bay leaf from stew. Drop dumpling batter by tablespoons onto simmering stem. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a dumpling comes out clean (do not lift cover while simmering).





I was pleasantly surprised with this meal. But I should mention that it didn't quite turn out the way I thought it would. It was actually less stew like and the pieces that were on the bottom of the pot were definitely burnt. I think what happened was that I didn't turn the heat down enough when it was simmering so the water pretty much all boiled off, but I didn't notice because I left the lid on the entire time. So next time I know not to do that again.

But back to the pleasantly surprised part....I liked it. In fact, I liked it a lot. I know jaws are hitting the floor everywhere. But it's true. Despite the small lack of stew-like qualities and the few burnt pieces, it was delicious. It had a great taste. And the dumplings were delicious, although I will be using less thyme next time (we aren't big on the thyme and it had a strong taste). The meat was tender, but had a great flavor to boot. Like I said, I was surprised. It's definitely a great meal for those colder fall/winter nights - just remember to turn down the temperature enough to not lose all your liquid and thereby burning those bottom pieces because you'll definitely want to eat all of it.

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