Brown on Brown

I am wary of dumplings. In fact, I’m pretty wary of stew, as well, which is why I was not especially keen on making Beef Stew with Herbed Dumplings . Might as well have read boring brown with sad veggies and gummy blobs on top. [insert grimace here]

However, Marc was quite anxious to make this because for some reason, he likes dumplings. I guess my exposure to the slimy, gloopy, flour-tasting dumplings of my past is what caused my hesitation but because he makes me cappuccinos every morning, I was willing to do this one small thing for Marc and conceded to the stew.

The first step was to get the ingredients, which always involves a few hours of pleasant grocery shopping at various places. At the very least, we have to go to the Co-op Marketplace, the butcher and the liquor store. Depending on the week’s recipes, we may also need to make a trip to Sunterra, The Cookbook Company, the Safeway and The Real Canadian Stupidstore. And another liquor store sometimes. Anyway, this week, it was butcher first. Our man was behind the counter as always and, as always, asked us “What’s on list?” We always have a shopping list and they tease about being organized. (What’s wrong with being organized?! Without The List, you can bet we would never have bought the duck breasts or the veal shanks.) Anyway, The List said 4lbs. of beef chuck. It turns out that 4lbs. is a lot of beef. And it’s none too cheap, neither.

At home, the stew was dutifully assembled and with all the meat and rutabagas and sauce, our biggest pot was almost overflowing – and this was before the dumplings went in. Not to be discouraged, we shoved them in anyways and just used an upended bowl for a lid, to allow the dumplings to expand. Indeed, they did expand and we were left with a veritable bucket of stew with a pile of puffy dumplings. The taste was OK, kind of bland, but this met with my expectation. The dumplings exceeded my expectation which is to say that they did not taste of flour. However, it wasn’t gross and we have 2 months’ worth of brown in the fridge/freezer so we have no choice but to like it.

Oh yeah, I made a green salad with shallot vinaigrette and I may or may not have burned the croutons. It’s hard to tell.

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