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
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
- 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
- Heat oven to 325º F.
- Mix together the seasonings. Rub the seasoning mixture all over the beef. Stick the whole cloves evenly around the beef.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the tomatoes, ketchup, fresh herbs, dried herbs, salt, black pepper and stir. Then add the beef.
- 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.
- 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.