Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Beef Stew with Herbed Dumplings

I've been making a number of one-pot meals lately, and we just had stew on the 16th, but when I was planning my menu for the week, a big pot of stew sounded like just the thing to get us through this last week of January.

I was drawn to this recipe because it called for homemade dumplings and rutabagas. I love dumplings, but I've never made them before. I didn't know if I liked rutabagas because I've never had them or didn't know what they were if I had them. I was excited to give this recipe a try after 95% of epicurious.com readers said they'd eat and try it again. You can't argue with that kind of success!

I changed and added some things, but overall we really liked this. It's definitely a keeper, and we loved the bright medley of flavors happening here. Oh, and I love rutabagas now that I know what they taste like. :-)

Beef Stew with Herbed Dumplings

4 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons peanut oil
4 thick-sliced bacon strips, chopped
3 cups finely chopped onions
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
5 1/2 cups canned beef broth
1 14 1/2-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added purée
6 medium carrots, peeled, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
3 medium rutabagas, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2/3 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons minced chives
2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch

Preheat to 325°F. Pat beef dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Heat oil in a heavy, large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Brown the beef, stirring occasionally and scraping up browned bits, for about 8 minutes. Cook in batches if necessary. Remove to platter.

Add bacon to same pot. Sauté until crisp, scraping up browned bits, for about 5 minutes. Add onions, garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Cover and cook until onions are tender, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes.

Return beef to pot. Add 5 cups beef broth and crushed tomatoes with purée. Cover and bring to simmer, stirring occassionally.

Transfer pot to oven. Bake until beef is just tender, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Add carrots and rutabagas. Cover; bake until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Uncover and cook until beef is very tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove stew to range and simmer over low heat.

Once pot is in the oven, prepare dumplings. Whisk milk and eggs in medium bowl to blend. Mix in chives and parsley. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.

Whisk remaining 1/2 cup canned beef broth and cornstarch in small bowl. Raise simmering stew to medium heat. Stir cornstarch mixture into stew. Return to simmer, stirring until sauce thickens.

Spoon dumpling batter in medium-sized dollops onto simmering stew. Cover tightly; simmer until dumplings are puffed and a toothppick inserted into center of dumplings comes out clean, about 15 minutes.

Serve stew with dumplings on top.

  • I wasn't sure if my local produce market carried rutabegas, or if they were even in season. I knew they were root vegetables so I thought I was safe, but you can never be too sure with my local produce market. I added parsnips to the stew because I thought they'd be a nice compliment to the carrots, and I figured I could add celery to the stew if absolutely necessary. I was proud of me: the parsnips, carrots, and rutabeges worked well in this stew. I'll never skip the parsnips from now on.
  • This is a large stew: it serves six. Thankfully it means we'll have plenty of leftovers for the weekend and going into the Superbowl.
  • The dumplings were great. This is one instance in which it definitely pays to use fresh herbs, man. They were so much better than if I'd used dried.
  • My grocery store was out of 14 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes, but a can of diced worked just as well.
  • I hate using cornstarch. It always glops up in my sauces and whenever I open the box it flies everywhere. I avoid using cornstarch whenever possible, so we didn't have any in the kitchen. A little flour worked fine in its place.
  • Now, pause with me a moment. Is there any smell more divine than thyme, onions, and olive oil sauteing together? It's one of my top 5 favorite smells.
  • Don't fear the dumplings! Trust me on this one! They puffed up all on their own and worked great with the stew. They're awesome for sopping up extra broth, too.


  1. How I miss cooking with beef... this looks awesome and those herb dumplings make it a great full meal!

  2. Yum, this looks so comforting and delicious!


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