Spring Cleaning

It must be March because I’ve hit that point where I’m digging into the recesses of the freezer for the end of last year’s garden goodness and supplementing with veggies from the store. What better way to use up the odds and ends than making soup. Today’s concoction was beef stew with dumplings.

Beef Stew with dumplings

Ingredients

Stew

  • 2 lbs stew meat (use any of the tougher, more flavorful cuts of meat cut into 1″ cubes. The Kitchn  recommends these cuts:

    “Chuck, Chuck Shoulder, Chuck Roast, Chuck-Eye Roast, Top Chuck• Bottom Round Roast, Bottom Eye Roast, Rump Roast, Eye Round Roast, Top Round, Round Tip Roast• English Roast, Pot Roast, Stew Meat”

  • neutral oil, such as safflower or avocado
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2T red wine
  • 1 yellow onion, small dice
  • 3 carrots, cut into rounds
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into half moons
  • 2-3 qts beef or vegetable stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • optional 1 sprig thyme
  • 2T tomato paste (or use 1/4c tomato sauce)
  • assorted vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, squash, peas, corn, greens, mushrooms); cut into pieces that are close to the size of your carrots pieces
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • sherry vinegar
  • fresh parsley
  • cayenne

Method

  1. Generously season beef with salt and pepper
  2. Heat enough oil to just cover the bottom of a saute pan over high heat
  3. When oil starts to shimmer add beef in small batches (too much and you cool off the pan), cooking just until you get a caramel color on each side (brown one side, turn, continue). Set meat aside and continue until all the meat is browned
  4. Reduce heat to medium high, deglaze the pan with red wine and add onions cooking until just beginning to caramelize
  5. Carefully scrape all of the fond and onions into a stock pot or sauce pan (4 qt size works great)
  6. Reduce heat to low; add stock, browned beef, tomato paste, carrots, celery, bay leaves, and optional thyme
  7. Cover and simmer slow and low for 2 hours or until beef is tender
  8. Add your other vegetables (read note below!) and cinnamon, simmer for 20 minutes once all your vegetables are in the pot
  9. add sherry vinegar, parsley, and cayenne to taste, adding  more salt and pepper if needed
  10. add dumplings (recipe below), cover and simmer 10 minutes. Enjoy!

A note on adding the other vegetables:

This is your chance to play, you can cook the vegetables before you add them (roasting brings out the flavor in many vegetables) or add them in stages appropriate to their cooking time: potatoes take the longest to cook, cauliflower takes longer than broccoli (which cooks quickly), add frozen peas at the end, etc.

Dumplings (courtesy of The Joy of Cooking)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups ap flour
  • 1T baking powder
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1 c milk
  • 3T butter

Method

  1. combine dry ingredients
  2. warm milk and butter until butter is just melted
  3. mix dry ingredients and milk mixture until just combined, form into 9 dumplings and drop over finished stew (dumplings will not cover stew at this stage, they expand as they cook)
  4. cover, simmer 10 minutes
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