I just love this time of year with season changes, and anticipation of Autumn. We've had a few rough storms come through our way over the past couple of weeks, which have set me on course to rummage through my recipes for cozy comfort food.
Beef Stew is always welcome in our house....we love our meat !
To bump up the comfort level, I add Herb Suet Dumplings to the pot, 30 minutes before the stew is ready.
These little beauties are stick to the ribs satisfying !!
What is Suet ? I hear you ask !!
Basically, it is fat from around an animals kidneys. It is solid and white with a high melting point. It is an essential ingredient in Traditional Christmas Mincemeat, and a hand-full of other British Dishes. For these purposes, it must be ground/grated quite finely.
You may be more familiar with the use of Suet as bird feeders today!
You won't see it on the shelf at the grocery store, so what you need to do is ask your butcher for it. Trust me ...he will know what you are talking about. He will also grind it for you, unless you want to buy the whole piece and grind it yourself at home ! I usually buy a couple of pounds of it at a time and freeze it.
Here is an image of solid suet....I know...gross !!!!
And here it is ground.....
Here is a wonderful article on Jennifer McLagan's Blog, which gives a further explanation and expert advice on how to cook with Suet. I highly recommend visiting her, she currently has four books published such as 'Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal' and has appeared on several television shows in Canada.
Now for the Beef Stew....There are as many recipes as there are pebbles on a beach. Many families have their own tried and true recipes passed down through generations. Mine is one of those, but has never actually been written down. I really just eyeball it as my Mum did.
I do not add any overpowering ingredients to this stew, such as garlic, wine, tomato, or any herbs. The flavour from the Herb Dumplings stands on it's own.
Here is a recipe from Campbell's Kitchen that most resembles the simple dish that I make. I would double this recipe and omit the potatoes and herbs.
Feel free to use your own favourite Beef Stew recipe of-course...but keep it simple !
Herb Dumpling Recipe
4oz Self-Raising Flour
2oz Shredded Beef Suet
1 tsp Mixed Dried Herbs [Italian Seasoning]
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cold Water to Mix [2/3 tbsp]
Mix the flour, suet, herbs, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.
Add cold water, a tablespoon at a time, until you have a soft, slightly sticky dough.
If it is too sticky, just add a little more flour.
With floured hands, portion the dough into approx one inch balls.
30 minutes before your stew is ready, add the dumplings to the broth, and cook for the remainder of the time.
And there you have it !!
I like to serve it in a deep bowl with some crusty bread to sop up all the gravy !
Dough mixed together....
In the pot..........[ a little steamy on the lens !!!]...they plump up almost immediately you drop them in !!
Ready to serve........
Get the bowls out and enjoy.......COMFORT FOOD MAXIMIZED !!!!