It definitely autumn around our neighborhood. What trees there are, are slowly turning shades of yellow and red. The mornings are dewy and cold when I leave for the gym. And the afternoons are crisp and slightly cooler come dinner time. I have been slowly adding comfort food such as this beef stew with potato dumpling recipe to our weekly menu planning, more often than not to be honest with you.
This is a new recipe that I developed for Relish Magazine, and it is a winner. Typically, when I make a beef stew, I simmer the meat with a mixture of stock and a hearty red wine, before adding lots of root vegetables. This recipe is different. It is a little bit traditional, and a little bit non-traditional. Kind of like being a little bit rock and roll and a little bit country.
Inexpensive cuts of beef are slowly simmered with onions and garlic, in a rich stock and fall brown ale for a long time. The meat ends up being fork tender and very flavorful. Instead of adding traditional chunks of potato along with carrots and peas, earthy mushrooms are added along with fluffy potato dumplings which are simmered on top of the stew just before serving. The dumplings are AMAZING; little pillows of fluff! Little secret baking the potatoes before making them into dumplings keep them light and fluffy. This stew recipe is pure comfort food.
Beef Stew with Potato Dumplings
2 strips of bacon, diced
2pounds beef stew meat
1medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
2cups brown ale or red wine
3cups beef stock
5large carrots, skins left on, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
12medium cremini mushrooms top quartered
2large Russet potatoes
1/3cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1tablespoon olive oil
1tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
1/2teaspoon kosher salt
In a heavy Dutch oven over medium heat, cook bacon until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
Pat beef with paper towels to remove moisture; if needed, cut pieces into bite-sized chunks. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Add to Dutch oven and stir. Cook 8 to 10 minutes over medium heat until lightly browned.
Add onions to Dutch oven and stir; cook for 1 minute. Add garlic, and bay leaves. Stir in ale and 2 cups of beef stock. Lower heat to a low simmer; cover with a lid. Cook 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until the meat is very tender.
While the base of the stew is cooking, prepare the dumplings and remaining ingredients. Preheat oven to 425F. Wash and pat potatoes dry; roll in foil. Bake 60 minutes; remove from oven and cool until able to handle.
Scoop flesh of potatoes from skins and place in large mixing bowl. Sprinkle flour over top. Add beaten egg, olive oil, thyme and kosher salt. Mix well. Set aside.
Once meat is tender, add the carrots and mushrooms to the Dutch oven. Stir and cook for 30 minutes over low heat. Add cornstarch to remaining 1 cup of beef stock and mix well with a fork. Pour into the stew and stir.
Drop tablespoon-sized dumplings of potato mixture onto the beef stew, keep the heat at a low simmer, and cook for 15 minutes. Lightly stirring every so often to prevent sticking. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.