How to Make Beef Stew With Dumplings
A Variation of My Basic Beef Stew Recipe
With winter coming to a close soon, I thought I'd share this alternate beef stew recipe. While my basic beef stew recipe has red gravy, this one has brown gravy and is made with dumplings. This was given to me by a family member many years ago. I love making dishes that are relatively simple and can be made with one pot, or one pot and a skillet. Although the meals I choose to make are deceptively simple, they pack loads of flavor. This is definitely a stick to the ribs kind of meal, and one I'm sure you'll enjoy.
For this recipe, you will need the following:
1 large spaghetti or stew pot w/lid
Your favorite paring knife
A sharp serrated knife
Peeler (if you prefer this rather than using the paring knife)
2 cup measuring cup
1 medium bowl
Cooking oil, preferably virgin olive oil
2-3 lbs of stew beef (chuck is the best choice as it has enough fat in it to make the beef tender)
1 medium, or 1 large white onion if you love onions
1 lb of fresh carrots, fresh, not pre-packaged
6 to 7 medium white potatoes
2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and minced (or, if you prefer, you can substitute garlic powder or garlic salt here)
Optional, Goya brand Adobo (an all-purpose seasoning)
2 cups of Bisquick (a pancake and baking mix)
2/3 cup milk
First, pour the oil in, enough to lightly cover the bottom. While that is heating on a low flame, slice up the onion, dice the fresh garlic, then add it to the oil once it starts sizzling. Stir occasionally with your wooden spoon until the garlic and onion starts turning a bit brown.
In the meantime, take the stew beef, place it on a cutting board and cut the pieces smaller than they are. A lot of people coat their beef in flour, which you are free to do if that's your preference. I choose not to since the Bisquick baking mix acts as a thickening agent for the gravy, so I don't feel the need to flour my beef.
Once the onion and garlic are a bit browned, add the stew beef. Continue to keep the flame low, and let the beef brown, stirring occasionally with the wooden spoon. Let this simmer until the meat is mostly brown. Once the meat is mostly brown, add enough water to cover the meat. Continue to cook over the low flame, with an occasional stir. Check on it periodically to make sure there is always water just covering all the meat.
While the meat is cooking, prepare the carrots. I prefer to just scrub the carrots and leave the skin on, however, you can go ahead and peel them if you like, using the paring knife or peeler.
Cut the carrots into bite-size pieces. Once cut, add them to the stew. At this point, add more water to now cover the meat, onions, garlic and carrots. Continue to keep it on a low flame.
Allow this to cook for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. This allows enough time for the carrots to become partially tender. Again, give this an occasional stir and make sure there is always water just covering the food. At this juncture, you'll want to add the salt, pepper and if desired, the Adobo seasoning.
While this is cooking, it is time to prepare the potatoes. You can choose to peel the potatoes or not. While I do like my carrots un-peeled, I prefer my potatoes peeled. Cut up the potatoes into the size you would if you were making potato salad. You can now add the potatoes to the pot. Add more water to cover everything, and let this simmer for another 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are just about done (check with a fork).
While this is cooking, it is time to make the dumplings. Simply measure two cups of Bisquick, add to the bowl, then add the 2/3 cup of milk and stir. Once it is all blended into a nice soft dough, drop it by spoonfuls into the stew, spreading the dumplings evenly over the top. Let this cook for 10 minutes un-covered, then an additional 10 minutes covered.
By adding all the water during this cooking process, it has gathered all the richness of the beef and turned the water a brownish color. Once the dumplings have been added, and have completed cooking, the liquid is now thicker, much like a brown gravy.
Before serving, let the pot sit for approximately 15 minutes to allow the flavors to continue to blend and the gravy to thicken. The first day, the gravy won't be too thick, but since there will be plenty of leftovers, the next day you will find that the gravy has gotten thicker.
So, invite several friends over, then serve this warm, hearty meal with a nice crusty bread with butter, a salad and/or green vegetable if you like and your favorite beverage. Enjoy!