Old-Fashioned Brown Beef Stew with Dumplings

January always energizes me. This year I am sharing 1922 recipes. I have a whole new set of hundred-year-old cookbooks and magazines that I’m just beginning to explore, and I look forward to trying recipes that look intriguing and sharing them with you.

Cold, wintery January days always make me crave comfort foods, so for my second recipe this year, I decided to make Brown Beef Stew with Dumplings. This hundred-year-old recipe made a delightful stew. The stew had a wonderful aroma while it cooked, and was hearty and flavorful with tasty homemade dumplings.

Here’s the original recipe:

Brown Beef Stew with Dumplings
Source: Mrs. De Graf’s Cook Book (1922)

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Brown Beef Stew with Dumplings

  • Servings: 3 - 5
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 1/2 pounds stewing beef, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/4 cup flour

3 tablespoons fat (lard, shortening, or cooking oil)

1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)

3 cups water

1/2 teaspoons salt + 1/2 teaspoon salt for dumplings

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

approximately 1/3 cup milk


Put the stew beef in a bowl with the flour. Stir until the beef is coated with the flour.

In the meantime, melt the fat in a skillet or other broad pan that has a lid (I used a 12 inch skillet with a lid). Then put the chopped onions in the skillet and saute until translucent. Add the flour-dredged stewing beef. Increase heat to medium high and saute while stirring until the meet is browned. Then add water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. When it begins to boil, reduce the heat, cover, and gently simmer for 1 hour and 45 minutes.

While the stew is simmering make the dumpling dough by putting the flour, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl; stir to mix. Add 1/3 cup milk slowly stirring until a smooth dough forms. (Add additional milk if crumbly and too dry.)

Drop heaping teaspoonfuls of the dumpling dough into the simmering stew; evenly space the dropped dumpling dough across the top of the stew. Cover tightly with lid and steam for 12 minutes. Remove lid and remove from heat, serve.