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.
- 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.Print this post