Friday, January 2, 2009

Beef Stew with Herbed Dumplings

Look at this beauty Jon gave me for Christmas -

Doesn't it just make you want to cook some comfort food? As soon as I opened it on Christmas morning I started to think of all the delicious meals I would cook in it. And eat all you want - lifting this from the stove to the oven and back again is a workout!

For my first meal I decided to make a stew. Jon and I have both cooked beef stew before but were never completely happy with the results. I was ready to take on the challenge yesterday.

I found a recipe on the Epicurious web site that sounded good -
Beef Stew with Herbed Dumplings. I made a few minor revisions and adjusted the amounts; although I cut the amount of beef in half, I only slightly adjusted the other amounts and in the end it was perfect.

For stew

  • 4 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes (I used 2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil (I used vegetable oil)
  • 4 thick-sliced bacon strips, chopped
  • 3 cups finely chopped onions (used 2 cups)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 1/2 cups canned beef broth (used 4 1/2 cups)
  • 1 14 1/2-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added purée
  • 6 medium carrots, peeled, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces (used 3)
  • 3 medium rutabagas, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (I used 1 large turnip and 1 large potato instead of the rutabagas)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

For dumplings (the amounts in the original recipe are listed below and were for 12 dumplings; I cut everything in half and still had 8 good-sized dumplings)

  • 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
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 325°F.
  • Pat beef dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Heat oil in heavy large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat.
  • Working in batches, cook beef until brown, stirring occasionally and scraping up browned bits, about 8 minutes. Transfer meat to bowl.
  • Add bacon to same pot. Sauté until crisp, scraping up browned bits, about 5 minutes.
  • Add onions, garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Cover and cook until onions are tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  • Return beef and any accumulated juices to pot. Add 5 cups (4 cups) canned beef broth and crushed tomatoes with purée. Cover and bring to simmer.
  • Transfer pot to oven. Bake until beef is just tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.
  • Add carrots and rutabagas (potatoes and turnips). Cover; bake until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 30 minutes.
  • Uncover; bake until beef is very tender, about 25 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare dumplings (I started this step when I removed the lid from the stew in the oven):
  • Whisk milk and eggs in medium bowl to blend. Stir in chives and parsley. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
  • Sift flour, baking powder and salt into large bowl. Add milk mixture. Stir just until blended.
  • Remove stew from oven and bring to simmer over medium heat.
  • Whisk remaining 1/2 cup canned beef broth and cornstarch in small bowl to blend. Gradually stir cornstarch mixture into stew. Return stew to simmer, stirring until sauce thickens.
  • Spoon dumpling batter in 12 (8) dollops atop simmering stew. Cover tightly; simmer until dumplings are puffed and tester inserted into center of dumplings comes out clean, about 15 minutes.
  • Serve stew with dumplings.

This is, by far, the best beef stew I have ever eaten. All of the flavors were perfect, it was the right consistency, it was stick-to-your-ribs food, and the dumplings were delicious! I can't wait to have leftovers tonight.

Here is another view of it - you can tell it's Jon's plate because he doesn't like carrots..

I'd highly recommend this recipe with the slight changes that I made. It takes a few hours to cook, but most of that isn't active kitchen time, so it's a pretty easy stew as well.

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  1. Looks and sounds great! I made chicken dumpling soup with herbed dumplings before and they were so good! I'll have to try it with beef stew.

  2. your dutch oven is gorgeous! This dish looks great, can't wait to try it! : )

  3. Love the new Le Creuset! I've been eyeing those herbed dumplings and I'm itching to make some soon!

  4. Enjoy your new pot! I got one last year and just love it! Your first meal from it looks delicious.

  5. The stew looks delicious, I have never had dumpling before though. They seem like they would be to slimy or something. LOL

    Love the new Le Creuset, I got that same exact size this Christmas. I love it so far.