Here is another, simple ranchers recipe for over the campfire. The use of a cheap cut of beef suits the long cooking and gives more flavour. Pair it with some dumplings that can be cooked in the dutch oven gives you a very easily tended cooking process. Put the carrots and shallots in after about an hour so they are not too soft.
Dutch ovens are so versatile – not just for stews but for roasting and baking. Whilst they weigh a tonne and are not for your back-pack, if you have a fixed camp, a wagon (or a station-wagon!) then they are a ‘must have’ bit of kit.
braising beef about 1kg, cut into pieces, ideally the size of a plum
coffee 1½ tin mugs
red wine 1½ tin mugs (or subsitute for more coffee, beef stock or beer)
garlic 1 head, top cut off, papery skin removed
bay leaves a couple
dried chilli flakes or black pepper a large pinch
carrots 4 large, peeled and thickly sliced
shallots a couple of handfuls, peeled
For the dumplings:
- Put your flour into a mixing bowl
- Using cold butter (or a hard fat) chop, grate or mince the butter into the flour
- Add a pinch of seasoning
- Using your fingers, gently rub the fat or butter into the flour until it begins to look like breadcrumbs
- Add a splash of cold water to help binding
- Divide into ping-pong ball size rounds and roll between your hands.
The dumplings absorb alot of moisture so if your coffee beef stew looks dry then add some more water and stir. Place the dumplings on top of your fully cooked stew and press down so that they are half submerged. Replace the lid and cook for a further 30mins.
The great thing about this basic dish is that it forms the basis of many other stews. Add chile and chocolate to give it a more mexican twist, add dark ale for an ale & beef stew, add some prunes for a rich, sweet, dense, fruity element.