Beef stew is a classic comfort food that’s perfect for chilly nights, and adding dumplings takes it to the next level of deliciousness. In this article, we’ll guide you through how to make a slow cooker beef stew with dumplings that’s not only hearty and satisfying but also easy to prepare.
Table of Contents
- Benefits of slow cooking
- Ingredients for beef stew with dumplings
- How to make beef stew with dumplings in a slow cooker
- Step 1: Sear the beef
- Step 2: Prep the vegetables
- Step 3: Combine everything in the slow cooker
- Step 4: Add the dumplings
- Step 5: Serve and enjoy
- Tips for making the perfect beef stew with dumplings
- Variations and substitutions
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Benefits of Slow Cooking
Slow cooking is a fantastic way to prepare meals, especially if you’re short on time or don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen. One of the benefits of slow cooking is that it allows the flavors of the ingredients to meld together, resulting in a delicious and deeply satisfying meal.
Another benefit is that slow cooking can be an affordable way to cook. Tough cuts of meat that are typically cheaper can become tender and flavorful when cooked low and slow. And because you’re using a slow cooker, you can set it and forget it, which means you can get other things done while your meal cooks.
Ingredients for Beef Stew with Dumplings
For the beef stew:
- 2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 cups beef broth
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
For the dumplings:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
How to Make Beef Stew with Dumplings in a Slow Cooker
Step 1: Sear the Beef
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, and pepper. Dredge the beef in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Sear the beef in the skillet until browned on all sides, then transfer to the slow cooker.
Step 2: Prep the Vegetables
Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery to the same skillet you used for the beef. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the slow cooker.
Step 3: Combine Everything in the Slow Cooker
Add the beef broth, tomato paste, thyme, and bay leaf to the slow cooker. Stir to combine everything, making sure the beef and vegetables are fully submerged in the liquid. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
Step 4: Add the Dumplings
About 30 minutes before the stew is done cooking, prepare the dumplings. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the milk and melted butter, and stir until a sticky dough forms.
Drop spoonfuls of the dumpling dough onto the surface of the stew, making sure they’re evenly spaced apart. Cover the slow cooker and continue cooking for another 30 minutes or until the dumplings are cooked through and fluffy.
Step 5: Serve and Enjoy
Once the beef stew with dumplings is done, remove the bay leaf and discard. Ladle the stew into bowls, making sure to include a dumpling in each bowl. Garnish with fresh parsley or thyme if desired and enjoy!
Tips for Making the Perfect Beef Stew with Dumplings
- Use a good quality beef chuck for the best flavor and texture.
- Searing the beef before adding it to the slow cooker helps to lock in the flavor and adds a nice color to the dish.
- If you prefer a thicker stew, you can add a slurry of cornstarch and water during the last hour of cooking.
- Don’t overwork the dumpling dough. Mix it until it just comes together, then drop spoonfuls onto the surface of the stew.
- If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can also make this recipe on the stovetop. Just follow the same steps but simmer the stew for 2-3 hours instead of using a slow cooker.
Variations and Substitutions
- You can use other cuts of beef such as stew meat or brisket instead of beef chuck.
- You can also add other vegetables such as potatoes, parsnips, or mushrooms.
- For a twist on traditional dumplings, you can add herbs such as thyme or rosemary, or even grated cheese to the dough.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
- Yes! You can prepare the stew and refrigerate it for up to 2 days before adding the dumplings and cooking it in the slow cooker.
Can I freeze this recipe?
- Yes, you can freeze the stew without the dumplings for up to 3 months. Just defrost it in the fridge overnight before adding the dumplings and cooking it in the slow cooker.
Can I use gluten-free flour for the dumplings?
- Yes, you can use a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend to make the dumplings.
Can I substitute chicken broth for the beef broth?
- Yes, you can use chicken broth instead of beef broth, but it will change the flavor of the stew.
Can I use store-bought dumplings instead of making my own?
- Yes, you can use store-bought dumplings if you prefer.
Slow cooker beef stew with dumplings is a comforting and hearty meal that’s perfect for cold weather. By following these simple steps, you can make a delicious and satisfying meal that will leave your family asking for seconds. With its tender beef, flavorful vegetables, and fluffy dumplings, this recipe is sure to become a family favorite.