The great thing about making stew on a miserable day is it is the ultimate comfort food. The bad part? Photographing it! This was the best I could do for Favourite Recipes from Old New Brunswick Kitchens‘ Beef Stew with Dumplings (Doughboys).
The only thing worse is that it was so cold and dark in mid-June! Thankfully the weather has made a turn for the better yesterday, the first day of summer. Just hope it stays that way! This recipe makes a ton of stew so I divided it by at the most half but will share it with you as described in the cookbook.
Dip 3 to 4 lbs of stewing beef in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Brown in hot fat in a frying pan. I actually browned mine in batches in a large Dutch oven to avoid using more than one pot.
Barely cover the meat in a large stew pot with water. Simmer slowly in covered pot for about 1 3/4 to 2 hours. I don’t know how it happened but somehow I missed that you were supposed to cover the pot. Probably because it was so freakin’ dark!
Add 5 or 6 potatoes halved (I had big potatoes so I chopped mine up into large pieces of they would never cook), 4 or 5 carrots, cut in large pieces, 1 turnip (my store didn’t have any so I added some mushrooms), 2 or 3 medium onions cut in large pieces. Cook slowly about 3/4 of an hour more.
As a result of me forgetting to to cover the pot, I added a lot of water here, just enough to almost touch the vegetables.
To make the dumplings sift together 2 cups of flour, 4 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt. Blend in 2 1/2 tbsp shortening. Add 1 cup of milk and mix lightly with a fork to form a soft dough.
Drop spoonfuls on top of stew. Cover tightly and do not peek for 12 to 15 minutes. Of course I had no idea how many spoonful to add to the stew so I just added globs and cooked for at least 15 minutes until they expanded and looked kind of fluffy.
This stew almost filled my big pot, I can not imagine doubling it! That is a ton of food. As is, this fed us for days. The list of ingredients also included salt and pepper but said nothing about seasoning the vegetables. There were no herbs, no broth… As a result it was pretty tasteless at the end of the cooking process so I had to add lots of seasoning to make the flavours pop.
Surprisingly, despite the lack of flavourings, once there was enough salt and pepper in there this was quite tasty. As well, I liked that I did not have to bake my own biscuits, just cook them on top of the stew. They got all dark and gooey which made for impossible food photography but pretty good eats.
I give this recipe four out of five wooden spoons.