Friday, September 30, 2016

BROWN ALE BEEF STEW

Ale has been used in stews for hundreds of years. Ale is a full bodied alcoholic drink that has been fermented in an open vessel using yeasts and malts that rise to the top of the brew. This type of fermentation gives ale a darker, fruitier, and spicier flavor than lagers and beers. My Cheddar Cheese Buttermilk Biscuits or my easy Cheddar-Garlic Drop Biscuits are a perfect accompaniment to this hearty stew. 



3 lbs boneless beef chuck, cut into bite size chunks
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T avocado oil
1 T unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T tomato paste
3 cups beef broth
½ t paprika
1 12-oz bottle ale
2 T soy sauce
1 T Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
2 T all-purpose flour

5 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
15 small red potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half
2 cups frozen white pearl onions
Parsley, for garnish (optional)

Generously season beef with salt and pepper.
In a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, add the oil and butter.
Add half of the beef and brown well on all sides.
Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl and brown the other half of the beef.
Remove to the bowl with the rest of the browned beef.

Add garlic to the pot and sauté 1 minute
Add the tomato paste, beef broth, paprika, ale, soy sauce, Worcestershire, bay leaves, and browned beef.

Bring to a very low simmer, cover and let simmer for 2 hours.

Ladle out about 3 tablespoons of the broth from the pot into a small bowl.
Add the flour and mix with a fork to eliminate any lumps.
Pour into the pot and stir with a spoon.

Add the carrots, potatoes, and onions.
Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until meat and vegetables are tender, about another hour.

Remove bay leaves and serve with biscuits, country rolls, or Sally Lunn.

Serves 6


CHEDDAR CHEESE BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

My husband and I celebrated our honeymoon in Virginia Beach, Jamestown, and Williamsburg, Virginia. Williamsburg was founded in 1699. Two of the most popular eighteenth-century cookbooks used in Virginia were, "The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy", by Mrs. Hannah Glasse and "The Compleat Housewife", by Mrs E Smith, published in London in 1727. The three eighteen-century taverns in Williamsburg that are still in operation are King's Arms, Christiana Campbell's, and Josiah Chowning's. I remember having an ale stew with cheddar cheese biscuits in one of the taverns. 





2 ½ cups all-purpose White Lily flour or Southern Biscuit flour
2 T aluminum-free baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t fine sea salt
7 T frozen unsalted butter, divided
1 cup cold buttermilk
1 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
½ t paprika

1 T melted butter, for brushing on biscuits


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Place rack in center of oven.

Sift flour with baking powder and baking soda into a bowl.

Unwrap most of the butter, but keep the wrapper on the very end to hold on to.
Grate the butter, using a box grater, directly into the flour mixture.
Leave a tablespoon of butter for melting to brush on the tops of the biscuits.

Quickly mix with a spoon and then make a well in the center and mix in the buttermilk, cheese, and paprika.
With floured hands, place on a lightly floured surface.

Gently fold the dough in half and repeat four more times. This creates layers, but you don’t want to overwork your dough.
Sprinkle top with flour and gently pat down with your hands to about a 1-inch thick round.
Cut with a floured 2 to 2 ¾-inch biscuit cutter. Do no twist the biscuit cutter.

Place on a lightly greased baking sheet with biscuits lightly touching each other.
Brush tops with melted butter.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.

Makes 12 to 15 biscuits

SUNDAY IN RYAN, LOUDOUN COUNTY, VIRGINIA


My Grand Uncle Edward Harding and me, c1952
He was reading the paper in his favorite rocking chair before Sunday dinner.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

I make chicken noodle soup two or three times during the autumn and winter, and I make it with boneless chicken breasts. Chicken wings are roasted first to give the stock a wonderful golden color and rich flavor. Roasting also renders most of the fat before making the stock. You can also pull off some of the meat from the chicken wings and add to the soup or give that meat to your pet.



12 whole chicken wings 
3 quarts chicken broth or stock
2 cups water
1 t black peppercorns
2 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves

2 T unsalted butter
2 medium onions, diced
2 leeks, diced
6 carrots, cut in half lengthwise, sliced
4 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
2 T minced fresh parsley
3 cups egg noodles, or pasta of your choice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Place chicken wings on a baking sheet and bake at 375 F degrees for 45 minutes.
Place the cooked wings in a large stockpot, add the chicken broth or stock, water, peppercorns, thyme, and bay leaves.
Bring to a boil, skim off the foam from top and discard.
Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 1 hour.

In another large pot or Dutch oven, over medium-low heat add butter and sauté the onion, leeks, celery, and carrots over for 5 minutes. 
Add the garlic and sauté another minute.

When stock is finished cooking, remove wings with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside. 
Strain stock through a fine mesh sieve into the pot with the onion mixture.
Add the cut up chicken breasts and minced parsley. 
Simmer, partially covered for 20 minutes.
Add the noodles and simmer another 8 to 10 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Serves 6 to 8

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

BUTTERMILK BISCUITS & SAUSAGE GRAVY

Buttermilk biscuits with sausage gravy is a classic diner breakfast in the South and so easy to make at home. This is definitely a "stick to your ribs" breakfast that will last all day. My son Brandon loves this breakfast.
I bought a garlic and herb sausage by a famous British chef made with humanely raised pork. I just added a pinch more of sage.



1 recipe for my Southern Buttermilk Biscuits or store bought
1 lb of your favorite uncooked bulk breakfast sausage
2 T unsalted butter
3 to 4 T all-purpose flour
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 to 2 ½ cups whole milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large cast-iron skillet, over medium heat, cook sausage while breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon.
Cook until lightly brown and fat is mostly rendered, about 6 to 7 minutes.
Add the butter and let completely melt. 
Sprinkle in the flour and cayenne pepper and cook while stirring for a couple of minutes.
Gradually stir in the milk and cook until the mixture has thickened. 

Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm.

To serve, add two biscuits to a plate and top with sausage gravy.

Serves 6



SOUTHERN BUTTERMILK BISCUITS


I use White Lily flour or Southern Biscuit flour for making biscuits. They are made with soft red winter wheat that makes biscuits so tender and fluffy. They also have a low protein content of 8 to 9.5 %. If you can’t find one in your super market, you can order it online. I don’t use the self-rising flour because I like to add my own aluminum-free baking powder.

Lee's Kitchen Tips:  
If you don't have buttermilk on hand; pour one cup of milk into a glass measuring pitcher and add one tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. Stir and set aside for 15 minutes, then refrigerate if not using right away.




2 ½ cups all-purpose White Lily, Martha White, or Southern Biscuit flour
2 T aluminum-free baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t fine sea salt
8 T frozen unsalted butter
1 cup cold buttermilk

1 T melted butter, for brushing on biscuits

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Place rack in center of oven.

Sift flour with baking powder and baking soda into a bowl.

Unwrap most of the butter, but keep the wrapper on the very end to hold on to.
Grate the butter, using a box grater, directly into the flour mixture.
Leave a tablespoon of butter for melting to brush on the tops of the biscuits.
Quickly mix with a spoon and then make a well in the center and stir in the buttermilk
With floured hands, place on a lightly floured surface.

Gently fold the dough in half and repeat four more times. This creates layers, but you don’t want to overwork your dough.
Sprinkle top with flour and gently pat down with your hands to about a 1-inch thick round.
Cut with a floured 2 to 2 ¾-inch biscuit cutter. Do no twist the biscuit cutter.

Place on a lightly greased baking sheet with biscuits lightly touching each other.
Brush tops with melted butter.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.


Makes 12 to 15 biscuits