ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Hearty Croatian Beef Stew Recipe with German Dumplings

Updated on October 13, 2015
Piping hot beef dumpling stew!
Piping hot beef dumpling stew! | Source

A history of this stew!

The first time I tasted this beef stew recipe was when my mother-in-law prepared it for dinner. I never had such a thick and hearty dish and was particularly interested in the chewy, little dumplings the family called "spechlies".

My mother-in-law would later share this recipe with me not in written form, but from her memory. The recipe had been passed from her mother-in-law and I remember her mother-in-law telling me about a stew her Croatian grandmother used to make. I like to think it was this same recipe passed down through generations.

I could not resist researching Croatian stews and what I found was strangely close to our recipe. According to Nitko, on, "Cobanac is kind of goulash sheep and cow-boy’s used to eat while watching their herds. You eat it with a spoon, so the pieces inside had to be bite-size. It is traditional meal from Slavonia (eastern part of Croatia)..."

Missing from Nitko's recipe were the green beans and dumplings, but I found another version of Croatian stew, again that looked very familiar, but peas were used instead of green beans and again, there were no dumplings.

The dumplings, we called "spechlies". offers this explanation, "Spatzles (pronounced spayt-zle or in my house, spechlies) are the rice and pasta of the Austro-Germanic culinary repertoire — a relatively bland, boiled carbohydrate that soaks up the flavor of whatever it’s paired with. Made with a batter of milk, eggs and flour... they are built to stand up to the hearty flavors of everything from spicy paprikash to schnitzel. Not to mention sauerkraut."

My bit of research into the stew proved interesting and I think what I have surmized is that our recipe is a variation of shephard's stew that has possibly originated in Croatia and our dumpling or "spechlie" is predominantly German cuisine. Somewhere along the line their delicious paths crossed, and that is what makes up the dish today. This may be the first time anyone has tried to put our family favorite down in the form of a real recipe - so best of luck and enjoy!

Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 1 hour
Yields: Feeds 5 - 6 people


  • 1 lb Beef Round Steak
  • 2 - 14.5 oz Cans Cut Green Beans
  • 5 - 6 Medium Potatoes
  • 1/3 C Ketchup
  • 3 or 4 Eggs
  • As needed Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Corn Starch
  • As needed Salt and Pepper
Cubes of beef browning with ketchup.
Cubes of beef browning with ketchup.
Cubed potatoes wait their turn.
Cubed potatoes wait their turn.
Mixing the dumplings.
Mixing the dumplings.
The dough should be sticky, but not wet.
The dough should be sticky, but not wet.
After dumplings float to the top and are done, add the beans and cook until they are warmed.
After dumplings float to the top and are done, add the beans and cook until they are warmed.
The last step is to add water and a  the cornstarch to thicken the stew.
The last step is to add water and a the cornstarch to thicken the stew.


  1. Cube 1 lb of beef round steak in bite-size pieces and brown them in the bottom of a large stock pot. As you are browning them, add salt and pepper and ketchup. These should be browned good, adding water if neccessary to keep the process going without burning.
  2. Once the meat is browned well, fill the pot about 1/3 full of water and bring to a boil.
  3. Peel and cube potatoes and add them to the boiling mixture cooking until tender.
  4. While potatoes are cooking, prepare the dumplings (spechlies) by whisking the eggs in a small bowl and add 1/2 teas of salt. Start adding flour little by litte under the dough is sticky, but not wet (see picture).
  5. Once the potatoes are tender, begin adding the spechlies to the mixture. First, take a teaspoon and hold it in the hot water to warm it and then scoop dough onto the spoon and carefully hold into the boiling broth. This should cause the dough to leave the spoon easily. Repeat the process until all spechlie dough is gone. Dumplings will cook fast and float to the top. This may only take 5 - 7 minutes.
  6. Drain 2 cans of green beans and add into the mixture. Since they are already cooked, they only need to heat.
  7. While the beans are heating, add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch into about 1/3 cup of water. This will be used to thicken the mixture. Once the beans are heated, add this liquid mixture and stir.
  8. The stew is best served on a plate or in a bowl and left to cool a bit before eating. A salad and some bread make an excellent side.

Please rate

Cast your vote for Hearty Beef Stew with Dumplings


Biteclub. "Search for Spatzle." BiteClub Eats Restaurants Food and Dining in Santa Rosa, Sonoma and Wine Country. N.p., 14 Jan. 2009. Web. 17 Jan. 2013

Nitko. "Croatian "cobanac" Stew." Recipe. N.p., 9 Sept. 2009. Web. 17 Jan. 2013


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I just want to tell you that I am just newbie to blgonigg and site-building and absolutely enjoyed you're blog. Almost certainly I’m planning to bookmark your blog post . You certainly have fantastic well written articles. Thanks a bunch for sharing with us your website.

    • carlajbehr profile imageAUTHOR

      Carla J Swick 

      7 years ago from NW PA

      Thanks Teaches, it was just a really neat thing to research as well and usually if I make this, my kids come running. : )

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      This looks really good and is just right for the chilly weather that has set in, even in sunny Florida. You just can't go wrong serving this for any meal.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)