I found this recipe in a quirky little cookbook we bought when we were in Ireland in 1987 called “Real Irish Cookery” by Mary Caherty. The poor book has been scribbled on by my children and has various strange stains on it. The recipes definitely pre-date the emergence of the new Irish cuisine, so they are relatively plain and heavy. However, in the winter, that’s a nice thing, so I might be sharing a few from here before it starts warming up. This is an interesting stew because there are no potatoes in it! A definite change from most of the recipes from Ireland.
Beef Stew with Dumplings
- 1-1/2 pounds stew meat or rib steak
- flour seasoned with salt, pepper, and paprika to your taste
- 2 pounds onions
- 1 pound carrots
- 2 tsp vinegar
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp chopped sage
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 1 quart (or more if desired) rich brown beef broth
- 1-1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup shortening
- Water as needed (about 1/2 to 1 cup)
Recipe: Trim meat, cut steak into cubes if necessary. Dredge in seasoned flour. Heat a bit of vegetable oil in a fry pan and then brown meat quickly, place into saucepan. Peel and roughly chop onions. Brown onions in fry pan with oil left over from browning the meat. Put onion and all the other stew ingredients except for the carrot into the saucepan and cook gently for about 1-1/2 hours. Peel and roughly chop the carrots, then toss them in as well. Now mix the flour, salt, and soda, then cut the shortening with two forks like you would for a pie crust, then add enough water to make a soft dough. Add balls of dough, about a Tablespoon each, to the stew. (There were a lot of dumplings in my stew, you don’t necessarily have to use them all.) Simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes, then cover the pot and simmer for a further 15 minutes until the dumplings are cooked through and have puffed up a little bit. Sample one to make sure they’re cooked in the middle.
*I know I said I would talk about a full Irish breakfast next, but I was unsatisfied with what I could find on it, then I missed Christmas, so I will talk about that later as we approach March! Hope no one is too disappointed.