Beef Stew with Herb Dumplings

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!!!

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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

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Ingredients

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

1 egg

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

salt/pepper

Directions

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

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Flank Steak with Red Wine Sauce

I don’t have any words.

Okay, that’s a lie.  Obviously I have words because you are sitting on your side of the screen reading them, but I have no words that actually mean anything.  Do you ever have those times where you want to blog – you want to share – but find there is nothing to share?  Nothing to say?

It’s not entirely true to say that I have nothing to share.  This week has been full of life’s little hijinks.  The big law school event that I’m helping plan went through it’s third venue change.  I competed in a client counseling competition and didn’t hate it.  I even made some beef stroganoff that I neglected to take a single picture of.  A lot has happened, but I can’t really find anything in particular to elaborate on.

So, I will go straight to the recipe.  No witty lead up or pointless anecdote here.  Just a recipe with a poorly lit picture I took with my iPhone.

Clearly I take this food blogging thing really seriously.

I will, however, take a moment to complain about how this flank steak cost me 18 dollars.  I don’t understand this because flank steak is one of the more economical cuts of meat, yet it was priced like it fraternized with filet.  Anyhoo, my menu was set and there’s nothing I hate more than an un-set menu.

Oh!  I actually DO have a funny anecdote for this.  The red wine sauce is strained in this recipe, and me being an idiot strained the sauce directly into the sink.  I didn’t even realize what I was doing until half the sauce was gone and I jumped back with this huge cast-iron skillet.  It’s a wonder I don’t injure myself more when I cook.

Anyhoo, to end this very much stream of conscious post (sorry…I’m not sorry) you should make this steak.  Because it SHOULD be on the cheaper end.  It’s flavorful.  And it makes delightful leftovers.

Flank Steak with Red Wine Sauce

Photo: Flank steak with red wine sauce

Ingredients:

6 tbsp cold unsalted butter

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tsp dried oregano

1/4 cup tomato paste

2 1/2 cups dry red wine

salt/pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

1 (2-pound) flank steak

Directions:

Melt 2 tbsp of the butter in a large sauce pan.  Add the onion, and sauté until tender.  Add the garlic and oregano and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.  Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Whisk in the wine.  Simmer until sauce reduces by half, 10 minutes.  Strain the sauce into a small bowl and discard the solids.  Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil.  Add the steak and cook until done, roughly 8 minutes per side.  Remove skillet from the heat and let the steak rest for 10 minutes.

Transfer the steak to a cutting board and slice thinly on a diagonal.  Plate and drizzle with the sauce.

Source:  Giada’s Family Dinners