Beast Stew & Dumplings

Cold weather, wet weather, snowy weather all bring out the hibernation instincts.  Cup of cocoa, hot toddy, fireplace, a good book.  Comfort food, too, which for a lot of us is in the form of stews with dumplings, or hearty soups with crusty bread.  My little brother asked for a stew recipe . . .  he’s in Wisconsin, watching the Packer’s game on a dark and gloomy day.  Here, in California, we have had rain and it is chilly in the mid-50s.  So, here is what my brother will be cooking up – and what I decided to do after talking to him!

Sauteeing Onions and Herbs in Dutch Oven

Beast Stew with Dumplings

  • 1 1/2 – 2 pounds cubed meat (I use chuck roast, but regular beef stew meat, pork, or lamb work very well)
  • 1 pint black beer
  • 1 pint water
  • 4-6 onions
  • potatoes
  • carrots
  • garlic ground up with different herbs.  I used coriander, ancho powder, sage, rosemary, thyme, parsley, marjoram, peppercorns
  • 2-3 T tomato paste

Preheat oven to 325 F if you want a long, slow cook.  Or, plan on cooking time of about 2-3 hours if done stove top.  You might also try this in a crock pot, but before you start, be sure to brown the onions and meat for best flavor.

Brown meat in heavy dutch oven with lid in olive oil.  Remove from pan.  Brown onions – a bit of caramelization is nice.  Grind up herbs and garlic, add to pan, sauté a bit.  Return meat to pan.  Add beer and water, cover, bring to simmer.  Add tomato paste, stir in to dissolve.  Continue to cook on stove or place in oven.  Check liquid status periodically to keep from scorching.  Be sure to put the lid on the pot!

On stove top, after about 2 hours – when meat is tender and begins to fall apart – add potatoes and carrots; continue to cook until vegetables reach desired stage of done-ness.  Allow about 20 minutes for dumplings before serving.

After about 4 hours in the oven, add quartered russet potatoes.  30 minutes after that, add coarsely cut carrots.  Continue to cook about another hour in the oven, then remove and place on stove top to finish with the dumplings.  Bring to simmer on stove.

Dumplings

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 T butter
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 2/3 c. milk, cream, or kefir

Mix together flour, powder and salt. Cut butter into flour mixture.  Stir in liquid just enough to mix ingredients together.  Drop by tablespoon onto simmering stew. Cook 10 minutes with the pot lid off, then 10 minutes more with the lid on. Note:  I find that a thinner liquid stirs in better than the thickness of cream or kefir (or sour cream), so it is not a bad idea to thin any of them with a bit of water.

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