Saturday, June 9, 2007

Summer in Seattle

Okay, it's allegedly summer. But today is a pretty typical June day for us Seattle dwellers--60 degrees and rainy. Our plan was to drive up to Camano Island to visit with some of Stephen's family who are in town, but Mother Nature has kept us at home (boo!!). SO, instead of breaking out the grill and running around in tanktops and flip flops like the rest of the country (I hate you, BTW), we are hunkering down and enjoying some cold-weather favorites.

Specifically, we snarfed some popovers (jazzed up with some herbs & cheese) and some pretty darn good beef and dumpling stew. I was having a hankering for my Grandma's famous chicken & dumpling soup but...I just couldn't do it. Call it stage fright or performance anxiety, but I knew that my efforts wouldn't hold up to the dumplings of my childhood. The beef version was a pretty good stand in--rich, good mix of flavors, and plenty of dumpling action. The dumplings were fairly light and fluffy and I tend to prefer my soup dumplings a scootch hardier, so I may dense them up next time.

Stephen says: I dare you to make a beef stew I won't eat. Not gonna happen.
Stephen's rating: 8


Beef & Dumpling Stew
2 lbs top round steak
1/2 cup flour
Assorted herbs (I used thyme, basil, and whatever else I had close at hand. It all had sort of a French-provincial flavor mixed together, but you could use whatever you prefer.)
1 onion
6 carrots
4 celery stalks
Box beef stock
2 cups tomato juice

Cut beef into 1-inch pieces and dredge in flour (add a little salt and pepper to your flour). Heat olive oil at medium-high heat and add meat. Cook for 5-8 minutes, or until brown. Add onion, carrot, celery, herbs, salt/pepper, tomato juice and stock. Simmer for around 50 minutes, or until beef and veggies are tender. Add a little sugar or honey if there is any tartness from the tomato juice. Add dumplings (recipe follows) by heaping TB and simmer (covered) for an additional 12 minutes, or until dumplings are done.

1.5 cup flour
3 TB butter
3/4 cup milk
3 tsp baking powder

Mix dry ingredients, add wet, and stir until combined.

Herbs (I used the same ones in the soup)
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 cups flour
2 cups milk
4 eggs
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 450. Beat eggs in bowl vigorously. Add other ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour into greased muffin tins, filling to 3/4 full. Recipe makes 12 popovers. Bake 25 minutes.

Important: Do not check on the popovers while cooking or they will fall. It's also important that your oven is completely preheated before putting your tins in for baking.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

I like your stew.. it looks like a nice consistency in the picture. I'll be giving it a try sometime, thanks for sharing it. : )