It’s autumn – my favorite season of the year. The leaves turn orange and yellow and create a backsplash of warmth and colour that rivals the prettiest of sunsets. There’s a certain crispness to the air….and oh wait, I live in San Diego. Well then.
Autumn exists in my head and while the weather does not reflect how autumn should be, my biological food clock wants to eat all things pertaining to stew, pumpkin, and apples. Add in some mulled apple cider, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, and mulling spices…and you’ve got one very happy Tiffanie.
So to start off the pretend Autumn season, I dusted off my precious (yes, it is precious, don’t judge) cast iron dutch oven from the back of my cabinets and greeted it.
“Oh hi there! I’ve missed you”
I am turning into the crazy lady that talks to pots, animals, and food. Except I flirt with my food.
Without further ado, this is a full-bodied beef flavored stew that is complimented with light fluffy dumplings. Don’t skip the step on toasting the caraway seeds as the toasting brings out the nutty flavor the caraway seeds. I found that the stew tastes better the day after as the flavors have time to meld and the dumplings soak in the beef flavor.
- 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (2 tbs for the beef, 2 for the onions)
- 4 cups onions, thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbsp caraway seeds, toasted and ground
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
- 1 teaspoon spicy Hungarian paprika
- 2 Tbsp minced fresh marjoram leaves
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 1/2 pounds chuck roast, cut into 2-inch cubes (remove excess fat)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup milk + 1 tbs milk
- 1 teaspoon melted butter
- 1 tablespoon minced chives (or utilize the remaining marjoram and/or thyme)
1 In a large covered sauté pan (use a cast iron dutch oven if you have one), heat the olive oil and sauté the beef in batches until browned on both sides. Remove the beef and any juice from the pan and place in a separate bowl. Clean off any excess liquid with a paper towel, add another 2 tbs of olive oil and sauté the onions and sugar until caramelized. Add the garlic and caraway seed. Cook another minute.
2 Add the sweet and spicy paprika, marjoram, thyme and bay leaf. Sauté another minute, until fragrant.
3 Add the tomato paste. Deglaze with the vinegar and the stock and add the pieces of beef, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cover and cook until very tender, about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
4 To prepare the dumplings, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, spices/chives, and salt. Combine with the milk and melted butter, mixing lightly. After the stew has cooked until tender in step 3, drop the dumpling batter by (heaping) teaspoonfuls into the simmering stew. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Once you have covered the pan, do not uncover while the dumplings are cooking! In order for them to be light and fluffy, they must steam. If you uncover the pan, the steam will escape and the dumplings will boil instead. After 15 minutes, test the dumplings with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean, the dumplings are done.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6.
Adapted from Simply Recipes