Every semester I have that sudden moment of clarity where I realize I don’t actually like going out. It’s almost one of those things that I hype myself into thinking that I like. I tell myself mantras like, it’s fun! You deserve this! Think of all the fun you’ll miss if you stay in! Go get the fun!!!
All of this works me into this sort of entitled-FOMO-frenzy where I truly believe that: (a) Going out is a sort of reward, and (b) Squandering this reward will only lead to heartbreak and a subsequent case of why-am-I-not-in-this-story-blues. You know what actually happens? I end up with a twenty-five dollar cab fare home and a searing headache and slight nausea the next day. To be honest, I think the first part hurts me more. I miss the city where getting home from any bar cost you ten dollars tops. Plus, you’re not surrounded by nineteen year olds all night. I hate being surrounded by nineteen year olds.
My solution to the going-out-dilemma is simple. I’m getting new friends.
Just kidding. There’s no way I can do that in half a semester. My plan is to host more dinner parties because they’re awesome. Seriously, I don’t know why I always don’t just throw dinner parties. They’re fun. They’re low-key. You can still have wine and not worry about wandering hands and expensive cab rides. In fact, being on a college campus, the single fact that you can have wine is exciting. I have never ordered wine at a campus bar and never will.
This recipe is the type that I’d make for a dinner party. In fact, I did make this for one that I hosted for two of my friends. It’s great for a larger party and pairs wonderfully with wine. Also – bonus points – it’s from my Harry Potter Cookbook.
I should warn you all that this recipe is a bit labor-intensive at the start, but really once it gets cooking it requires little attention. It cooks for around three hours which creates the most succulent and tender beef. The vegetables cook down beautifully and the little herbed dumplings are a delightful addition.
Beef Stew with Herb Dumplings
For the herb dumplings:
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp each of salt, pepper, ground sage, ground thyme, dried marjoram
1 tsp baking powder
2 tablespoon fresh parsley
1/2 stick butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
2 tbsp milk
For the stew:
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 pound chuck steak, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp flour
1 14 oz can of chicken broth
3 carrots, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
4 red-skin potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed and cut into 1 inch cubes
For the dumplings:
Mix together the flour, salt, baking soda and herbs. Add the pieces of butter and rub with your fingers until it forms a corase meal. Whisk the milk and egg together in a separate bowl. Form a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the egg-milk mixture. Combine with a rubber spatula. Press plastic down on the dough and put in the refrigerator.
For the stew:
Heat one tablespoon of oil in a wide pot. Add the meat and brown on all sides. Remove the beef and add the remaining two tablespoons of oil. Add the onion and cook until it’s softened. Add the flour and stir until it is fully incorporated into the onions. Pour in the chicken broth and stir. Add the meat with its accumulated juices and salt/pepper and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce to a simmer and let it cook for 1 1/2 hours.
Add the carrots, celery and potatoes to the pot. Simmer for one more hour, stirring occasionally.
Remove the dumpling dough from the refrigerator and form into 1-inch balls. Drop into the simmering stew and let cook for another thirty minutes, until the dumplings have puffed up.
Serve over egg noodles or with some crusty bread.
Source: The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook