Monday, August 11, 2008

Electric Skillet Beef Stew with Cheesy Dumplings

Electric skillet meals are any easy way to reduce heat in your kitchen and save on clean-up afterward. Mine is a twelve inch square variety with a domed glass top for quick peeks without even lifting the lid. Basically, a "full" skillet feeds four; as I live alone this works out to four dinners for one. Leftovers are a snap since I keep a space for the whole skillet on the top shelf of my refrigerator. Bring the temperature back up gradually; start at warm, then simmer, add a bit of water before raising the temperature to 250.

I use a slightly over one pound package of stew beef which I cut down to manageable chunks. This will allow speedier browning (in olive oil) and a more thorough distribution of meat throughout your beef stew. Once cut to size and placed in a bowl for safe-keeping, I season the stew beef with either Greek or Italian salad dressing along with additional garlic. This can be placed in the refrigerator while you begin to prepare the vegetables. Alternately, you could hold off the vegetable preparation until the stew beef has been marinated and browned. No extra bowl for the veggies that way; simply slice and dice from the cutting board direct to the electric skillet.

The jury of one has returned with a verdict:
This recipe is an outstanding success!
I was allowing a bowl of stew and dumplings to cool a bit
as I began this post and have been eating it between sentences.

The veggie list: Small red potatoes cubed more or less. Baby carrots halved into smaller bites. Fresh mushrooms sliced somewhat thick. One large Vidalia onion halved, halved again, and chunk cut. Green, yellow, and red bell pepper diced to match the onion. I also had one half each of zucchini and yellow squash which needed to be eaten so, in the stew they went.

Add enough water to mostly cover and sprinkle with one package of Beef Stew Seasoning Mix. Stir gently as your skillet might be quite full by now. Let it cook at 250 stirring frequently to prevent scalding and sticking. When the meat and potatoes are tender you may begin to thicken the gravy with a light dusting of flour stirred in completely. It will thicken some during the final phase as well.

The cheesy dumplings are begun with an all-purpose baking mix and water to a somewhat sloppy dough thin enough to be plunked from a spoon into your stew. It will appear a bit watery at first but, this is as it should be for dumpling mix to which shredded cheese is about to be added. Any of the shredded cheese mixtures (mine was Italian) will do fine and can be added up to about one third of the total mass of the dumpling mix. The end result should slip easily from the spoon to the bowl as the stew will be QUITE hot and may splatter you.

Spoon in the dumplings, reset the lid and wait 20 to 30 minutes. The cheese will keep the dumplings from achieving the dry interior you may be used to. They will; however, firm up enough to be ladled into bowls and smothered with the nutritious and delicious Electric Skillet Beef Stew of your very own creation. Enjoy it, I did.

All content © 2008 Keith E Larson

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