Thursday, December 13, 2012

0 Cowboy Stew with Cornmeal Dumplings

My friend, Erin, went out and bought some of her favorite cookbooks and gave them to me for my birthday! She gives the best gifts! :-) 
I love getting new cookbooks and looking through all of the recipes and putting little post it notes on the ones that I want to try. . . . The place that I keep my cookbooks looks very neat and orderly. . .just don't look too closely! There are tons of multi colored post it notes coming out of each cookbook! 
I decided to try the Cowboy Stew with Cornmeal Dumplings from Chef Paul Prudhomme's Seasoned America! 
Nate took one bite and said, "Call your dad! We are bringing him some of this!" 
(Y'all might notice that I never mention bringing anything to my mom. Do you ever read the Hollywood star's "diets" to get ready for the red carpet. . .well my mom eats like that EVERY day! :-) Seriously, she has not eaten a dessert in my ENTIRE lifetime! :-) So she does not partake in most of my cooking endeavors, she just admires from afar! :-) 
I mentioned this on facebook but living close to my parents and my brothers is one of the biggest blessings in my life. I love the boys dropping by or my dad emailing me a recipe and saying "Why don't you come over on Saturday with coffee, the pups, and a piece of the attached recipe!" :-) 
All that to say, we took a bowl of this Cowboy Stew to my dad and we were all obsessed with it! :-) 
This would be the perfect dinner for hunters coming in from the cold. . . especially since we used deer meat instead of beef! :-) 
(Don't be overwhelmed by the ingredients and how many steps are included in this recipe . . . There is a note below on how to find the chile peppers and it doesn't take as long as it looks to make it! Besides, the time is totally worth it when you taste this amazing stew!) 
Cowboy Stew with Cornmeal Dumplings
8 main course servings
Seasoning mix: 
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground arbol chile pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground guajillo chile pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 pounds beef top round, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (we used deer meat)
12 slices bacon, diced
1 cup chopped onions
3 small bay leaves
Cornmeal Dumplings (recipe below)
12 - 14 small white onions (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter), peeled, or 36 tiny pearl onions, pealed
3 cups beef stock
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pats
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup dark molasses
2 cup brewed coffee
2 cups thickly sliced carrots
Cornmeal Dumplings
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon Seasoning Mix
2 eggs
1/4 cup reserved beef juices (at room temperature)
1/4 cup dark molasses
Reserved fried bacon

Combine the seasoning mix ingredients thoroughly in a small bowl. Makes 3 tablespoons plus 2 1/4 teaspoons.
For the stew: 
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the seasoning mix over the beef and rub it in thoroughly with your hands.
Cook the bacon in a large heavy pot over medium-high het until brown and crisp, about 10 to 11 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.
Add the seasoned beef to the bacon fat left in the pot and cook over high heat until the meat is browned on all sides, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chopped onions and bay leaves, pushing them under the meat. Cover and cook, scraping the pot bottom occasionally, until the meat is rich brown color and sticking to the bottom of the pot, about 18-20 minutes. Remove from the heat. Remove 1/4 cup of the juices from the pot.
Prepare the dumplings.
For the Cornmeal Dumplings: 
Thoroughly blend the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Using a large spoon, make a hole, or well, in the center. Add the eggs and mix with the spoon until the dry ingredients are thoroughly wet. Add the reserved beef juices and stir to blend. Stir in the molasses, add the fried bacon, and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To combine:
Set the pot of stew over high heat, add the whole onions and 1 cup of the stock, and scrape the bottom of the pot. Stir in the butter, cover, and cook, uncovering once or twice to stir, about 8 minutes. (The gravy should become a deep brown color). Stir in the flour and cook 1 minute. Stir in the molasses and coffee and scrape the bottom of the pot. Add the remaining 2 cups of stock, scrape the pot bottom clean, and bring to a boil.
Remove the dumpling batter from the refrigerator and use a large spoon (or cookie or ice cream scoop) to drop 10 dumplings onto the bubbling stew. Cover, and reduce the heat to medium low, and cook 20 minutes without opening the pot.
Allow the stew to cool about 10 minutes before serving. Place 1 dumpling in each of 8 flat soup plates and ladle about 1 cup of the stew over it.
* Note: You can use whatever chili peppers are available in your area but don't use commercial chili powder. (I found the arbol and guajillo chili peppers at Penzy's. If there isn't a store in your area, you could always order the peppers!)
Chef Paul Prudhomme's Seasoned America
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