Monday, March 6, 2017

Braised Beef with Dumplings with a Taste of a Bygone Era

Braised Beef with Dumplings


Recipe Provenance

The following recipes come from a collection of recipes found in a manuscript journal located in the H. Furlong Baldwin Library at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore. The manuscript is attributed to Ann Maria Morris and the date of 1824 is written on the inside cover. The recipe below is one of many from the manuscript that will be included in a book I am writing. The book will contain biographical information about Mrs. Morris, an annotated transcript of the entire manuscript as it was written, and a section of modern recipe adaptations.


The Recipes: 
To Stew a Rump of Beef
Rub your beef very well with salt, pepper, nutmeg, a pinch of mace & cloves. Stick some whole cloves in the Beef. put it in a Dutch Oven with ½ gallon water—let it stew until half done then add 6 large potatoes, 2 or 3 turnips quartered, 3 or 4 sliced carrots and 2 onions, a few Tomatoes 1 pint Red Wine ½ pint white wine add one tea cup catsup – dredge flour over it- and let it stew until the vegetables are all soft. skim off the fat dish it with the vegetables over and around the Beef it will all be a dark colour by keeping it covered with a hot oven lid -- Etting

Suet Pudding

Shred a pound of suet; mix with a pound & quarter of flour, three eggs beaten separately, a little salt, & as little milk as will make it, boil 5 hours.

Suet Dumplings
Make as above, and drop into boiling water, or into the boiling of Beef; or you may boil in a cloth. 


About the Recipes
The beef and dumpling recipes were listed separately but seemed like they were meant to go together. Therefore, I made the suet dumplings and cooked them in the braising liquid following the dumpling recipe's instructions to "drop . . . .into the boiling of Beef." As for the beef recipe, I decided to brown the meat first before slow-cooking it to give it more flavor. I also decided to wilt the vegetables in oil and then sprinkle them with flour. The way the recipe is originally written does not indicate to do any of these steps, but I think the author may have just assumed these steps were obvious and therefore did not need to be mentioned (as is often the case with historic recipes).

The sweet spices such as nutmeg, mace and cloves give this savory recipe that distinctly historic flavor, and the use of suet in the dumplings is a reminder that this country was once part of England! 

Modern Recipe Adaptation: Braised Beef with Dumplings


Ingredients:

For the Beef:
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Grated Nutmeg
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Mace
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • Chuck Roast, About 3 Pounds
  • 12 Whole Cloves 
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil + Extra
  • 6 Medium Red Potatoes (about 2 Pounds), Chopped in Large Chunks
  • 2 Onions (about 1 Pound), Sliced in Half-Moons
  • 2 Turnips, Peeled and Chopped
  • 4 Carrots, Peeled and Chopped in Large Chunks
  • 1/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 4 Tomatoes (About 1 Pound), Chopped
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 2 Cups Red Wine
  • 1 Cup White Wine
  • 1/2 Cup Ketchup
  • Fresh Sweet Herbs of Choice (Rosemary, Parsley, Thyme, Marjoram), Enough for Cooking and Garnish
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried and Sifted Rosemary
  • Additional Salt and Ground Black Pepper, to Taste
For the Dumplings:
  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Pounds Suet (1 Box Atoro Brand)
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Milk

Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 325ยบ F.
  2. Mix together the seasonings. Rub the seasoning mixture all over the beef. Stick the whole cloves evenly around the beef.
  3. Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a Dutch oven on medium heat. Add the beef and brown the meat on all sides. Remove the beef from the Dutch oven.
  4. Place the chopped potatoes. onions, turnips and carrots in the hot Dutch oven and cook on high. You may need to add more olive oil to make sure all of the vegetables are covered in a thin layer of the oil. Sprinkle the flour evenly over all of the vegetables and stir to coat. Cook for about five minutes, until the flour is cooked.
  5. Add the water and both wines to the Dutch oven and bring to a boil while scraping the bottom to remove all the bits of flavor
  6. Add the tomatoes, ketchup, fresh herbs, dried herbs, salt, black pepper and stir. Then add the beef. 
  7. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat, cover, and place in the heated oven. Cook for about 2 1/2 -3 hours, until the meat is tender enough to shred with a fork.
  8. While the beef is cooking, prepare the dumpling dough: 
    • Whisk the flour and salt together in a mixing bowl. Add the suet and rub it into the flour using your hands to break up all of the clumps. Whisk together the eggs and milk and then add them to the flour and suet. Mix gently with a wooden spoon. The dough will be wet and sticky.
    • Using wet hands, roll the dough into small balls about the size of walnuts and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate the dumpling balls until needed.
  9. When the beef is done, remove it and the vegetables to a platter. Cover the platter and put it in the oven on the warm setting.
  10. Add the dumplings to the pot and cook in the braising liquid until they are puffy and firm, about 15 minutes.
  11. When the dumplings are done, pour them and the gravy over the meat and vegetable on the platter. 
  12. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs, if desired.

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