Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Moroccan Spiced Beef with Herb Parmesan Dumplings

Moroccan Spiced Beef with Herb Parmesan Dumplings

Sometimes, delicious meal ideas begin with the age old question of 'what's for dinner?'  And, so, I asked this of Brian a couple of weekends ago.  This is normally a fruitless exercise because he'll tell me that whatever I choose is fine.  But, every once in a while, he'll throw out an idea which leads me to another idea and something tasty may result.  That sounds a little convoluted, doesn't it?  How do you decide what to make for dinner? 

Moroccan Spiced Beef with Herb Parmesan Dumplings
Anyway, on this particular occasion his answer was beef stew.  That's a fine idea, of course, but I'd already made it a few times this month and wasn't particularly inspired.  So I started thinking of ways to use the same base but change the flavor and that led me to my overstuffed spice pantry.  Normally I associate this blend of Moroccan inspired seasonings with lamb instead of beef but there's no reason why both can't work.  And since I was taking the stew in a different direction, I decided to leave Brian's beloved potatoes behind as well and go with some delectable buttery dumplings.  I roasted a few beautiful rainbow carrots I found at the market and dinner was served.  Enjoy!


2 lbs.  Beef round cubes
1/4 Cup all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 Onion, peeled and diced
4 Cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 Cup red wine
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
4 Cups beef stock
1 Teaspoon sugar
2 Teaspoons smoked paprika
1 Tablespoon cumin
1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon turmeric
1 Can (approx. 15 oz.) white cannellini beans (rinsed and drained)
Salt & pepper to taste

1 Stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1" pieces
2 Cups all purpose flour
1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
1 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 Cup milk
2 Tablespoons chopped chives

Moroccan Spiced Beef with Herb Parmesan Dumplings
Place the flour in a large bowl and add the beef cubes.  Roll them around to coat.  Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil into a large Dutch oven or other oven safe stew pot.  Add half the beef cubes (it's important not to overcrowd the beef if you want it to brown instead of boil) and sear on medium high heat for a couple of minutes, rotating the cubes to get the sear on all sides.  Remove the beef from the pot, add the remaining tablespoon of oil and repeat with the remainder of the beef.

When seared, remove all the beef and whisk in 1 cup of stock.  Scrape up all the bits on the bottom of the pot and whisk them into the stock.  Return the beef to the pot and add the onion, garlic, sugar, paprika, cumin, cinnamon and turmeric.  (I've also made this without the sugar but prefer it with.  It won't taste sweet at all but the sugar helps take the edge off some of the strong spices.)  Stir in the tomato paste, wine and remaining stock and season.  Cover and cook in a 350 degree oven for 3 hours.  When done, move onto a medium low flame on the stove top, stir in the beans and leave, uncovered, to reduce slightly while you make the dumplings.

Add the flour, baking powder and salt to a bowl.  Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or fork until the mixture resembles course crumbs.  Add the Parmesan, herbs and milk and stir until it comes together into a dough ball.  Scoop the dumplings into a large pot of boiling water (I used a 1 oz. scoop), cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon and add to the beef.  Do not overcook them or they will fall apart. Note that, although you can make the dumplings right in the stew pot, I prefer to cook them separately so that the stew does not become cloudy.  Makes approximately 8 servings.


  1. Asking my husband what he wants for dinner is a futile effort. He's so annoying like that. Do you think maybe you could pass over a plate? Thanks. Pinned!

  2. You ask your husband what he wants for dinner? Not me. He gets what he gets. Then again, after 30 years together I know what he likes/wants. I know he would like this stew because he is a major beef and dumplings guy.

  3. G'day! I always ask hubby what he would like for dinner and get whatever you want to make me, true!
    Sometimes is frustrating but when I hear...because everything you make is made with love too...How can I fault a reply like that?
    Your stew looks warm and welcoming today too!
    Cheers! Joanne

  4. Get in my belly!! I need to make this stat.

  5. Anita, this is such a beautiful and perfectly seasoned with the Moroccan spices. Love all the ingredients, and especially the delicious dumplings. A great stew... must have for fall and winter!

  6. Very nice seasoning with the stew, definitely different with beef but I like! It's been so long since I made some myself but the Mr. can be a little picky when ti comes it this.

  7. Necessity is the mother of invention, right??? You did some great inventing with this.

  8. So, is the wine just for drinking while you cook?

    Just kidding, I assume it goes in with the tomato paste and remaining stock. I cannot wait to make this later in the week, thanks for the recipe.

  9. I love anything with dumplings involved and this lloks super delicious - what pretty carrots the lend a splash of color to it. I bet the offer a little sweetness too. YUM!


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