I know I'm reviewing my own recipe, but this was an important lesson I learned the hard way. You CANNOT make good dumplings for this recipe with wheat flour! When I made that attempt, they were dry, grain-y, and flavorless. My suggestion would be to stick with the good, old fashioned, not-as-good-for-you-but-one-time-won't-kill-you white flour in order to make this recipe a success. Also, for thicker stew (as my mother-in-law prefers), simply reduce the amount of broth/water you are using by about 2-3 cups and allow the stew to simmer longer to have some of the liquid evaporate off. It's really, really hard to mess up this recipe! Add spices to taste to get slightly different flavors - I know sometimes my husband will add a few drops of hot sauce to his! You can also use whole bay leaves and remove them once the taste is to your liking if you prefer not to have the crushed version, and whole onion in lieu of powder (use 1 onion per tsp of powder that a recipe calls for, diced and add to the broth with enough time to soften so they aren't crunchy). This freezes well and makes great leftovers for lunch or dinner during the week! I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!
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I know I'm reviewing my own recipe, but this was an important lesson I learned the hard way....