Thursday, March 4, 2010
Last time I made stew, my sweetie asked if I was going to make "those puffy white things" to go with it. Huh? ... for a second I was stumped. Then, I realized what he meant. And... was quietly pleased that he thought my dumplings were puffy and light.... what better compliment could the chief cook and bottle washer receive?
As is my usual.... I'm posting the basic recipe from my old Canadian Cookbook.... I add or subtract items if I don't or do have them in the house on the day. The underlying flavour is very much the same.... and I love the aroma of a good stew. Our Mom wasn't one to cook daily...but, when she did, she made some great tasting suppers. Stew was one of the most amazing aromas to come home to after a cold walk from school.... so it brings back memories. This stew is very similar and therefore very familiar.... I love it.
1 1/2 pounds beef
1/3 cup seasoned flour
1 small onion (sliced or chopped)
some vegetable stock or water
1/3 cup celery sliced
6 carrots, halved or chopped
6 potatoes, quartered or chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Trim fat and coarse tissue from the meat; cut into 1 inch cubes.
Dredge at least half the meat with flour; brown slowly in a little hot fat in a heavy pot with a tight fitting lid. ( I like to make it in my electric frying pan..it's so easy to adjust the heat and have it simmering for as long as I want) (Alternatively, at this point you could put meat into crock pot..add the veggies and continue simmering in the crock)
Add the rest of the meat and the onion; add just enough stock or water to cover the meat (about 1 quart). Cover the pan.
Simmer 1 hour; add the vegetables, and more water if necessary and simmer another hour. Add 1/3 white wine if desired.
Thicken with a mixture of flour and water if you like.
NB::..... I don't know what they mean by seasoned flour... but, I usually grind in a good scraping of fresh black pepper. Once the meat is browned and I have added onion and water...I also add a good splash of Rice Vinegar and another splash of Light Soy Sauce.
I like to use sweet basil, some rosemary ... or, a mix of Italian Spices or Herbes De Provence.... and, always, a large Bay Leaf.... that is the taste of stew for sure!
If I have a turnip around.... I like to add some and even parsnips, broccoli, cauliflower, fresh or frozen green beans or peas... don't forget the celery tops and leaves too.... ! ... whatever veggies you love. And... I chop lots of fresh parsley into it as well.
Then... when it has simmered for a few hours... those puffy white things!
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 to 1/3 cup fat
2/3 cup milk
Mix and sift flour, salt and baking powder. (Again... for us..I never use salt.. and find that salty butter is enough... it's up to you)
Cut in fat with pastry blender til it is the texture of meal.
Stir in the milk to make a sticky dough.
Spoon out large dollops of the dough either onto a floured plate... and from there to the stew...or directly onto the gently bubbling stew. There should not be so much liquid that the dumplings cannot rest on the meat and vegetables. Allow a space of about 3 inches for the dumplings to rise.
Drop dumplings quickly into the stew, spacing them out a bit and cover the pan.
Keep the stew simmering and do NOT lift lid for about 15 minutes.
Lift dumplings onto a plate; thicken the stew; pour the stew into a serving plate or leave in electric skillet and arrange dumplings back on top....
NB:: I use only 2 to 2 1/2 tsps. baking powder ... I don't like tasting it AT all and they seem to puff up just fine. I used the larger amount of butter... 1/3 cup... and no salt.