With the Winter weather starting to set in, and those dark cold nights creeping up on us, we all enjoy comfort foods to make us feel good inside. There is no better Wintery comfort food than a hot dumping stew with the meat of your choice either, and for today’s article we wanted to share our top secret beef and dumpling stew focusing on how to get the perfect dumplings.
For beginners, dumplings never really come out as expected they are either too big, too small, or they just end up crumbling into pieces as soon as they hit the moisture of the stew. There are however a few tips that we can share with you today in order to impress your dinner guests and even yourself when you come to sculpting a dumpling stew.
So get your pans at the ready and let’s get cooking!
You will need 5 main ingredients for the mixture and they are:
That really is all you need to make the perfect dumplings, it’s the process of creating them that tends to fool people, so before we begin talking about the rest of the stew let’s talk you through the dumpling stage first.
Take the 125g of plain flour, and then grab yourself a sieve as you will want to sift the flour through this into a bowl so the flour doesn’t contain any unnecessary bumps or lumps. Once you have done this at a pinch salt to the flour, along with that teaspoon of baking powder.
Take 60g of suet and add this to the mixture and just bring all those ingredients together before you add the final ingredient of water. Add the water to the mixture slowly, you don’t want to overdo it or you will ruin it. What you are looking for at this stage is enough water to make a thick dough, that’s all.
Once you are happy with the dough it’s now time to separate that big dough ball into separate small balls that will form our dumplings for the stew. To do this you need a little extra plain flour, making sure that you flour up your hands as well. Roll spoonful’s of the dough into about 8 smaller sized dough balls (or 10-12 if you want smaller dough balls).
Usually at this stage of proceedings your beef stew has been cooking for a few hours so that the meat becomes tender to the taste. You will have taken a large saucepan and added beef, garlic, vegetables, wine, stock and herbs into the mix, along with some salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce for a nice kick.
The next stage is to simply take each of the prepared dough balls from the above step and simply lay them on top of the stew. It’s important not to just dunk them under the broth here, you want to rest them lightly across the top and around the edges of the bowl, leaving enough space to cover the stew with a lid.
There is a tip we can offer here though, if you like golden bronzed tops to your dumplings with a slight crunch, then don’t put a lid on the stew, just return it to the oven as it is.
At this point it takes a further 20 minutes for the dumplings to cook and what you need to look out for is a few things. A cooked dumpling will firstly be tender but you will also notice that the size of the dumplings have expanded during that 20 minute cooking phase. This is why when you come to rolling out your dough balls you need to make sure that you roll them smaller because they will swell to a larger size as they cook.
The stew and dumplings have now been cooked and the best way to serve this Wintery dish is one of two ways, you can either serve the stew and the dumplings together for your guests or you can add a side dish of light and creamy mash potato. Usually mash potato and stew dishes go hand in hand with each other, and your guests will love eating these three foods together.
To add the final touches to dish, and to really polish off the presentation of each plate you can sprinkle some finely chopped parsley across the top of the stew on each person’s plate.
There you have it, you have just cooked the perfect dumplings and you now know what they can be served with to make the perfect dinner for your guests.