Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Popovers to Soak up Beef Stew

When I visited England years ago, there was one (and seriously, only one) culinary delight I just couldn't get enough of: Yorkshire Pudding.

Served with meat and gravy, the gooey doughballs were the perfect medium to deliver, well, all the delicious gravy!

As a substitute, I found a recipe for Popovers a few years ago that pairs beautifully with beef stew and other yummy liquids. Let me just say that if browning your meat in batches has stopped you from wanting to make stew, try this method that has you make a roux first instead. It is so much tastier and flavorful, I swear!

Beef Stew
6 slices thick-cut bacon
1/4 cup flour
1 pound stew meat
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 onion, cut in wedges, sliced or chopped
2 carrots, thickly sliced
2 celery sticks, sliced
3 cups red wine
2 cups beef broth
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks
2 cups frozen peas

Cook bacon in a heavy-bottomed stew pot. When edges begin to crisp, remove bacon to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside.

Add flour to bacon grease (you should have about equal amounts flour and oil, so add more flour if needed) and stir continuously over medium heat for about 15 minutes, until roux has the color and consistency of peanut butter and gives off a nutty aroma.

Stir in stew meat and 1/2 teaspoon salt and brown for about 5 minutes. Add onion and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, then cook for 5 more minutes. Add carrots, celery and bacon, stir to coat, then add wine and broth. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours. Add potatoes, and cook for a half-hour longer (as an alternative, use new potatoes and add them in the beginning). When potatoes are cooked through, adjust seasonings, stir in peas, then serve with popovers!

Note: This recipe is just a base. Add mushrooms with potatoes, spices like bay leaf or thyme, you name it. And instead of using bacon grease, try equal parts high-heat cooking oil (like grapeseed or canola) and unsalted butter.

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