Grandma’s Beef Stew with Dumplings

Winter is almost over which means soup and stew season is almost over but I have to share this recipe, because it’s that good.

I love my family and love spending time with them; and by family not only do I mean my parents and siblings but also my extended family: in-laws, aunts & uncles, cousins and of course my friends.

Growing up my maternal grandparents lived 4+ hours away but my mom would load my brother, sister, and I up in the van on a Friday after school to spend a weekend with them. My grandma would always ask Mom what she would like to have for supper that evening when we arrived, and more often than not the request was for Grandma’s Beef Stew with DUMPLINGS. (Dumplings are delicious, if you didn’t know.)

I don’t know what it is about grandmas but they make some of the BEST food, period.



Now, as you read the recipe don’t get scared of parsnips and rutabagas, they make this stew. If you don’t use them, it just won’t be the same.

Grandma’s Beef Stew with Dumplings


  • 1 medium onion, cut into large chunks
  • 1 Beef roast 2 -2½ lbs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Preheat the oven to 300°

Season the roast with salt and pepper. Place the onions on top of the roast and  put in the oven until the beef is tender and falls apart easily with a fork, about 2 ½ hours.

(You can also put your roast in the crock pot on high in the morning and finish the stew in the afternoon or use leftover beef roast for this as well)

Saving the juices and onion, pull apart the beef roast into chunks of a desired size.


  • 12 cups of water
  • Beef soup base, follow package instructions for 10 cups of water
  • 1 medium rutabaga, peeled and cubed
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-3″ pieces
  • 3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-3″ pieces
  • 2/3 cup barley


  • The juices from the roast will provide additional flavor for the soup so I use less base then the soup base package indicates
  • The vegetables will cook at the same speed if you cut them all the same size; I like mine cut in bigger chunks

In an 8 quart or larger stock pot over medium heat:

Bring 12 cups of water and beef soup base to a boil. Add all the vegetables


Add beef  and juices, along with the onion to the stew.

(Make sure to taste this, does the water/soup base ratio taste right? Add more soup base if needed.)

Bring the stew to a boil then reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables are fork tender. (approx 1-1 1/2 hours)

Before the next step of adding barley, make up the dumpling dough:


(I follow the Bisquick recipe which can also be found on the side of the box)

  • 2 cups of Bisquick
  • 2/3 cup milk

Mix until a soft dough forms


About 25 minutes before serving stir in 2/3 cup barley. I used the 10 minute barley, if you use regular barley you will need to allow more time for cooking.

Approximately 20 minutes before serving, drop spoonfuls of the dumpling dough onto the simmering soup. Cook uncovered 10 minutes. Cover, and cook an additional 10 minutes longer, until no longer doughy.


Making stew requires some patience, it’s called stew for a reason…but the end results are amazing!



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