Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Beef-Ale Stew with Green-Onion Buttermilk Dumplings

Makes about 8 servings. I halved the recipe when I made it. The stew takes about 4 hours (only about an hour of active involvement); the dumplings about 40 minutes.

4 lbs beef chuck, cut into 1½" pieces
2 C plus 3 Tbls flour
3 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 Tbls vegetable oil
2 12 oz bottle ale
(or substitute beef broth)
2 large onions, thinly sliced
8 oz mushrooms, quartered
2 C baby carrots
(or equivalent, cut & sliced)
½ C thinly sliced green onion
(green part only)
½ tsp baking soda
4½ Tbls cold butter, cut in small pieces
3/4 C buttermilk
1 egg

In a large bowl, toss beef with 3 Tbls flour, 1 tsp salt, and the pepper. In a large pot over medium heat, heat 1 Tbls vegetable oil; add enough beef to form a single layer, being careful not to overcrowd the pot. Brown the meat on all sides (about 7 minutes total). Transfer beef to a large bowl. Continue in batches until all beef is browned.

Add 1 bottle ale to pot, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Pour ale over beef and return empty pot to medium-high heat.

Add remaining 1 Tbls oil, onions, and 2 Tsp salt. Cook, stirring often, 2 minutes. Cover pot and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions have a hint of gold color (about 20 minutes).

Remove lid, raise heat to medium high; stir in 3 Tbls flour and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, reserved beef and ale, remaining bottle of ale, and carrots. Bring to a boil. Cover and lowere heat to a gentle simmerl. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beef is tender (about 3 hours).

When I made this, the stew was very thick. Next time, I'll use more liquid whether it's ale, beef broth or a combination.

About 40 minutes before serving, make dumplings:
(this recipe makes plenty of dumplings)

In a medium bowl, stir together 2 C flour, green onions, 3/4 tsp salt, and baking soda. Using a pastry blender (or your fingers) work cold butter pieces into flour mixture until it resembles cornmeal with some pea-sized pieces.

Make a well in the center. In the well, carefully whisk together the egg and buttermilk. Gently fold in dry ingredients until just combined (it'll still be fairly lumpy). If needed, add more buttermilk, 1 Tbls at a time.

Gently form dough into 12-15 equal balls and drop into stew. Cover pot and cook 20 to 30 minutes, or until dumplings are fluffy and cooked through. Remove from heat; let sit 15 minutes before serving. Stew will thicken as it cools.

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