Friday, October 15, 2010

Hungarian Beef and Bean Stew with Tiny Dumplings (Csipetke)

This is a quintessential beef stew that I hope to make many, many more times.  It starts with a couple of marrow bones and one giant meaty soup bone simmering in water for about four hours.  When the meat was pull-apart tender, I removed the bones from the pot and set the meat aside until the end. Then I added some soaked pinto beans to cook for another 45 minutes, followed by some onions sauteed with paprika and flour, and lastly sliced carrots and bell pepper, and salt to taste.
The dumplings are made like a simple pasta: 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, one egg, and a half teaspoon salt mixed together and given a rest at room temperature to soften. When the stew was ready, I dropped small pinches of dough (so small that 1/2 cup of flour turns into 80 dumplings!) into the simmering stew and let them cook another five minutes.
I made too much broth at first so I strained it, added some tapioca and cooked it down for a few hours longer.  The resulting stew had an incredibly rich beefy aroma, vegetables that still held their flavor, and, best of all, adorable little dumplings that add texture, heartiness, and that undefinable "comfort food" factor that makes this recipe a real keeper.
I'm sure it would be even better with sour cream.

No comments: