I made it back to Atlanta Monday night via a long bus ride (13 hours!), and woke up the next morning to a chilly and damp Tuesday. And what’s better for dinner on a cold rainy day than stew?
…and what’s better than stew, than stew and dumplings?
That’s right – I can’t think of anything either.
Whenever I make stew I always grab for my copy of Jaimie’s Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver. It’s built to teach people to make easy, delicious meals and encourage them to eat better and be healthier as opposed to picking up easy junk food (a sin we’re all at fault for). Food Revolution has a great recipe for basic stew and includes 4 variations, each using a different meat/herb/alcohol combination. I always go for beef, beer, and bay leaves, and this time was no different. I’d actually considered heading to the store to pick up some wine and rosemary to shake things up a bit, but I decided to go with my tried’n’true…especially since someone had left beer in our fridge, meaning I wouldn’t have to venture out into the cold dreariness.
As a new little personal challenge I decided to add dumplings, a suggestion also from Food Revolution. The only problem was that it called for self-rising flour, not what I typically keep in my pantry (we’re more of an all-purpose household). That being said, I knew there was a way to make the self-rising flour out of my AP, and a quick Google search gave me the answers I sought. Bring on the stew, I said to myself!
One of the things I love about stew is how soothing it is to make. There’s a lot of chopping and stirring, and while you wait for it to cook down, its lovely savory aroma permeates your whole kitchen and, if you’re lucky, your entire home. It’s warm and comforting, and for a makes everything alright for awhile. It always surprises me when I see that this stew recipe doesn’t call for garlic, only salt, pepper, and bay leaves. And, of course, beer. I was a little concerned that the beer from our fridge wouldn’t mesh well with stew – it was a special holiday flavor – but it ended up being great.
So…thanks to whoever left this behind!
Anyway, the self-rising flour and dumplings were a breeze to make; I don’t see any reason why I would keep a bag of SR flour around when I always have AP, baking powder, and salt (the only 3 ingredients required to make SR). These dumplings required you to cut cold butter into flour, not unlike a pie crust, and while many of you know my dislike for pie crusts and the cutting of butter, these were easy enough that even my clumsy hands couldn’t screw them up too badly. Let’s take a look!
I know this stew looks a touch dry, but trust me when I say it wasn’t. A few of the dumplings were admittedly a bit dry inside, but dousing them in the lovely stew gravy made everything alright. In fact, it made everything perfect.
These dumplings turned out so well that I’m pretty sure I’ll be making them a requirement in all of my future stew excursions. The gluteny-savoriness they added was delicious, and perfect for sopping up any remaining bits of sauce left in my bowl.
I hope you make some stew’n’dumplins, and I hope you share it with friends. And I hope you get it all over your face.
Dumplings (or “Dumplins” if you’re from the south)
Dumpling recipe from Jamie’s Food Revolution (it’s a great cookbook, I highly recommend it).
- 1 cup all-purpose cup flour
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
Sift/whisk all 3 ingredients together. YOU’RE DONE!
- 2x batches Self-Rising Flour
- 9 tbsp cold, cold unsalted butter
- ~1/4 cup ice cold water (put a couple ice cubes in it to keep it cold until you’re ready to use it).
- In a bowl, cut the butter into your flour. In Food Revolution, Jamie (we’re on a first name basis) recommends using a coarse cheese grater to chop your butter into pieces, which I think is a great idea. Since I don’t have a coarse cheese grater, though, I cubed each tablespoon of butter individually, then methodically rubbed them into the flour until it reached a sawdust-like consistency.
- Add a little bit of the water at a time to help the flour come together into a dough. You may not need the entire 1/4 cup – or you might need more! Just make sure whatever water you use is cold. You want the butter to stay cold and not melt into the flour.
- Pull clumps of the dough off and gently roll them into balls; you should end up with around a dozen.
- You’re done!
- If you’re adding them to stew:
- Wait until the stew is done, then preheat your oven to 375F.
- Add the dumplings to the stew so they’re about halfway submerged in stewy-liquid (if your stew is a bit dry, add a cup of water).
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- CONSUME (after cooling, seriously the stew will be very hot)!