Before our first date, Bearhands and his brother Craig sat on the back deck of their house, had a beer and made a checklist of qualities I would have to possess to be qualified for the vacant girlfriend position.
The list was extensive but three items stand out in my mind:
- must eat meat.
- must drink beer.
- must have brothers.
I, of course, was blissfully unaware of the existence of this list until months later. On reflection though, it explained the odd line of questioning that came after I ordered the fish at dinner.
When he finally revealed the contents of the list, Bearhands explained the reasoning behind his criteria. Girls with brothers understood boys. They were under no illusions about boy behaviour and boy aroma. He further reasoned that girls who drank beer were likely lower maintenance and that he couldn't see a lot of vegetarian risotto in his future.
Considering his list, it's no surprise that my beef and beer stew with parsley dumplings is one of Bearhands' all-time favourite dinners.
beef and beer stew with parsley dumplings
for the stew
- 800g gravy beef
- 3 rashers bacon
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 carrots
- 1 brown onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tbs flour
- 375ml beer
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 tbs worchestshire sauce
- 300g mushrooms
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
for the dumplings
- 100g self raising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 60h butter
- 1 egg
- 2 tbs parsley, chopped
for the stew:
Cut the meat into bite sized cubes. Dice the onion, carrot and celery. Crush the garlic. Slice the mushrooms.
In a heavy saucepan, heat some olive oil and cook the beef in batches. Put aside and keep warm.
In the same pot add some olive oil, the onion, celery, carrot and garlic and saute over a low heat until the onion is translucent. Add the flour and cook for two minutes. Make sure to stir and 'cook' the raw flour flavour out of the mixture. Add the beer, stir and bring to the boil.
Return the meat to the pan, along with the stock, bayleaves, worcestershire sauce and mushrooms. Bring to the boil and cover, reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for ninety minutes.
for the dumplings:
In a food processor combine the flour, baking powder and cubed butter. Process until they mix resembles breadcrumbs. Add the parsley, process again briefly. Add the egg and process until the mix comes together. Then use your hands to form about eight balls of dough.
If the mix doesn't come together easily try adding a little water. About twenty minutes before serving, add the dumplings to the top of the stew. Cover and increase the heat to medium - this will give the dumplings a chance to rise. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes until the dumplings have risen.
Meat, check. Beer, check. Ugly food, check. Satisfying tucker, you bet!
The moral of this story is a simple one: if you want to bring all the boys to your yard, skip the milkshakes and serve beef and beer.
what qualities do/did you look for in a partner?
where was your first date?
I have never managed to make a good dumpling. However a beef stew is my specialty. I kind of think it's something that you just can't stuff up unless you burn it.
Lucky you passed that early test!
Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me says
I wonder whether this is why I find my boys quite hard work at times!! Being one of the three girls. Love this post x
Amanda Smyth says
I'll tell you the other prerequisites over a wine one day mate! xx
Sarah Birchmore says
This one will have to go on the menu for next shopping trip! Looks great 🙂
Like 'Bearhands' I had a few prerequisites...
1) Must drive a 4WD, preferably a Landcruiser (all the men in my family drove one, and it just seemed like the right thing for a bloke to drive).
2) Must know how to use 'specific' and 'Pacific' correctly!!!!
3) Must know how to reseat a leaky tap. I went on a date with a man who asked me what I had been up to that day, and when I replied that I had reseated the taps in my bathroom as they had been leaking looked at me like I had said I had taken a quick trip to Mars to do some shopping. It might sound awful, but I was immediately turned off - especially when he admitted he didn't own any tools at all, not even a screwdriver... So then and there, reseating taps became my 'measure of a man' 🙂
Luckily I was at a country race meeting about 600km from where I was living at the time and was introduced to a very lovely 'young' man who ended up becoming my husband a few years later. He exceeded all expectations, and I gave up a fancy job to live on a cattle station miles from anywhere. And I love it! And he will love this stew!!!! (Fingers crossed the children do too)