My Todd is a real stew and dumplings kind of a guy. We are running into warmer weather now and so I took advantage of the colder temps to make a nice big casserole of beef that I could divide up once cooked, and freeze ahead, along with some tasty dumplings, which you can also freeze ahead. That way in the warmer months ahead if Todd is wanting something hearty for his tea one day, I can just thaw the stew out and reheat it quickly with only a short time in the oven to brown the dumplings.
I adapted the dumpling recipe from one I found of Mary Berry's. I trust everything Mary Berry does and they sounded delicious. We both LOVE horseradish and I knew we would love these.
The dumpling dough gets patted out and is slathered with a horseradish and parsley mixture. I used creamed horseradish, but Mary Berry used Hot horseradish. I did not want to overpower anything and I don't like really spicy/hot food and so I used the creamed as it is milder.
Once you top the dough, you roll it up like a jelly roll and cut it into slices to pop onto the hot stew and then bake until golden brown. This was a gorgeous combination. Tender, flavourful beef stew/casserole and flaky buttery dumplings on top with just a hint of horseradish. I used half grated butter and suet in my dumplings this time because I didn't have enough suet and it worked just fine.
If anything they were better. I think you could also use the same amount of butter just alone or a mix of shortening and butter, in which case I would rub the fat into the flour with my fingertips until crumbly. Just look at how flaky they are.
This was totally delicious and I had one very happy man on my hands. I love it when that happens!
*Beef Stew With Herbed Dumplings*
Serves 6 - 8
Serves 6 - 8
Hearty and delicious! My own oven stew recipe with a lovely dumpling recipe borrowed from Mary Berry, and adapted to my own needs.
For the stew:
3 TBS olive oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 large carrots, peeled, sliced in half and then cut into half moon chunks
2 parsnips, peeled, sliced in half and cut into half moons
1/4 of a small swede, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 1/2 pounds good quality braising steak, cut into cubes
2 TBS plain flour
10 fluid ounces of beef stock (1 1/4 cups)
a bouquet garni (see note below)
5 fluid ounces of good red wine (generous half cup)
salt and black pepper
For the dumplings:
75g shredded suet (generous 1/3 cup, can use grated frozen butter or shortening)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
10 TBS cold water
3 TBS creamed horseradish
3 TBS chopped fresh parsley
Fresh parsley to garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 150*C/300*F/ gas mark 2. Heat 1 TBS of the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion and garlic until softened. Add the vegetables and sweat for about 10 minutes. Scoop everything into a large casserole dish.
Trim the meat and cut it into thick chunks. Using the remaining oil, fry the meat in the same pan over high heat, stirring well until it is rown all over. Sprinkle with the flour and stir well to prevent lumps. Season well with salt and pepper. Over medium heat pour in the stock and the wine, stirring constantly to make a smooth sauce. Continue to heat to boiling. Carefully turn the contents into the casserole with the vegetables. Give it a good stir and then add the bouquet garni. Cover tightly and cook gently in the oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Make the dumpling dough while the stew is baking. Sift the flour, suet,salt and pepper into a bowl. Add enough of the water to make a firm but soft dough. Gently pat out on a lightly floured surface to a 6 by 8 inch rectangle. Mix together the horseradish and parsley, along with some seasoning, not too much. Spread this over top of the dough, making sure you spread it right to the edges. Roll up tightly from the six inch side as if rolling a jelly roll (Swiss roll.) Wrap in plastic cling film and store in the refrigerator until you need it.
Once the stew is nicely cooked and the meat tender, remove it from the oven. Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Taste and adjust seasoning. Increase the oven temperature to 200*C.400*F/ gas mark 6. Cut the roll of dumpling dough into 8 evenly sized rounds. Place onto the hot stew, cut side down, placing one in the middle and the remaining ones around the outside. Return to the oven and cook for a further half an hour, until the dumplings are cooked through and achieve a golden crust. Remove from the oven.
Serve piping hot, sprinkled with the fresh parsley (if desired) and some mashed spuds on the side.
Note - Today because there are only two of us, I divided the cooked stew into several smaller containers to freeze after it was tender. I returned just enough for one meal to a smaller casserole dish. Make sure it is well heated for the dumplings. Cut your dumpling dough and place four on top. The remainder can be frozen (sliced) for up to six months. When you go to use this up. Heat the thawed stew to boiling and then top with the frozen dumplings and proceed as above. It may take slightly longer to cook the dumplings.
Note -The bouquet garni is a bundle of herbs usually tied together with string and mainly used to prepare soup, stock and stews. The bouquet is boiled with the other ingredients, but is removed prior to consumption.
There is no generic recipe for bouquet garni, but most recipes include parsley, thyme and bay leaf. Depending on the recipe, the bouquet garni may include basil, chernet, chervil, rosemary, tarragon, peppercorns and Savoury. Sometimes vegetables such as carrots, celery (with leaf attached) leeks, onion, celeriac and parsley root and are also included in the bouquet.
Sometimes, the bouquet is not bound with string, and its ingredients are filled into a small sachet, a net, or even a tea ball instead. Traditionally, the aromatics are bound within leek leaves, though a coffee filter and butcher twine can be used instead of leek.
If there is an important man or men in your life, I just know they will enjoy this! Bon Appetit!