Friday, February 09, 2007

Venison Stew with Dumplings

I got pretty lucky with this one, because I didn't use a recipe. Turns out stew is pretty easy when you have the right ingredients...

1 large jar of pressure cooked venison (thanks Katie & Tim!)
6 celery stalks
4 carrots
3 potatoes (Idaho Russets are probably best for stew... that's what I used)
2 onions (I used Vidalias)
3 bay leaves (I used fresh, but not sure if this matters)
1.5 tbsp unsalted butter
1.5 tbsp oil (I used canola)
about 1.5 cups of regular flour
about 2 cups of Bisquick (regular or Heart Smart)
about 1/2 cup of milk (your preference of fat content)
about 2 cups of stock (I used vegetable stock)
some kosher salt
some pepper
some fresh rosemary
some mustard seed
some coriander

Clean and chop the vegetables. I like them all in small chunks except for the potatoes, which should be large chunks. Make a light roux with the flour, butter, oil, and onions (how to make roux shown here and here). Deglaze with the stock, and put in the rest of the vegetables. Let that cook down for a little while, then add the meat, with its juices, about 4 quarts of water, and the salt, herbs, and spices.

Let that whole thing simmer uncovered for about 1-2 hours. If you feel like you added too much water, you may need to let it cook off longer. I didn't actually measure the water, but I think it was about 4 quarts. You don't want the stew to become too thick while it's cooking because believe-you-me, after spending a night in the refrigerator, it will be twice as thick as it was when you put it in there.

About 25 minutes before the stew is done stewing, mix up your milk and Bisquick to make a thick dough (if it's too thin, it won't hold up well in the stew) per the directions on the box for "dumplings", break off a random piece about 2 inches in diameter (don't roll it up too much, the irregularity gives it more visual appeal), and drop it in the stew. Continue dropping slightly spherical chunks of dough into the stew until the top is covered. My pot takes about 8 dumplings to cover. You'll notice the dough expands fairly quickly to about three times its size in the stew. Let that cook for 10 minutes uncovered, and 10 minutes covered.

Turn off the heat, and let the stew cool for awhile. You may want to pull the dumplings off the top with a slotted spoon and set them aside so the stew can thicken faster (steam escapes faster that way).

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