On the weekends in the fall or winter I love to make a pot of soup, chowder, chili, or stew. I make enough so there will be leftovers. Yummy.
After our heat wave last week, it cooled down to a more normal fall temperature on the weekend. The chill in the air made me crave a pot of stew with either homemade bread or biscuits. As the stew cooked I baked a loaf of bread however also decided to try making biscuits again. Brenda had pointed me to a biscuit recipe she wanted to try. I figured I could not go wrong with Firefly’s Blue Ribbon Biscuits recipe. The recipe makes 6 biscuits.
I have found success in my biscuit making a last. Light, fluffy, tender, so tasty.
I made a slight change in the recipe, because buttermilk is not a staple in my home however, I always have yogurt in my fridge. You can use any brand of plain yogurt however, I prefer Liberté Méditerranée yogurt.
I followed the recipe exactly except I substituted 2/3 cup of plain yogurt + 2 tbsp of milk for the buttermilk.
As for the stew, I don't follow a recipe it is generally made based on how big a pot I'm making and what I have on hand.
To make a stew use as much or as little of the following items as you want based on the size pot you will be using.
- Round steak: as I prefer a lean cut of beef. Cut into bite size pieces. Place in a hot pot with a splash of olive oil. Allow to brown on all sides.
- Onion: I love onions so I use a large one cut into a medium dice. Add to cooked beef. Stir so they don't stick or burn. Allow onions to cook to a golden brown.
- Carrots: I buy the bunches of carrots with their tops and depending on the size there are 6-8 medium carrots in the bunch. I like to get fancy when cutting my carrots. After I peel the carrot I cut it on an angle, roll the carrot and make the next cut; you will get triangular bite sized pieces.
- Potatoes: I like Yukon gold however, any PEI potato variety works. When using new potatoes, I don't peel them. I like to use a small potato for stews etc so I can just cut them in quarters.
- Turnip: Although I like the flavour of turnip I don't like the texture. I buy a small turnip and cut it into a small dice. After I made the stew on Saturday, I thought I might try grating the turnip into the stew next time. This way I'd get the flavour, I want without the texture of the turnip.
Add all the cut vegetables to the cooked beef and onions.
- Spices & herbs: Red pepper flakes - I like to add just a bit for bite. Thyme & Basil about a teaspoon or so each. I sometimes add a few cloves of chopped garlic. I never add salt when cooking. In this case, there is some salt in the soups though I tend to use a low salt version.
- Beef broth: I use Campbell's low salt beef broth. I add enough broth to cover the vegetables & beef.
- Thickener: I use Campbell's 50% Less Fat Cream of Celery or 25% Less Salt Cream of Mushroom. I add this along with all the other ingredients.
You can do a flour, butter roux or add some other type of thickener if you like however, the cream soup is faster and most people can't tell the difference.
- Frozen peas: added at the very end of cooking.
Cover and cook on a very low setting until the vegetables are tender. You could do this in a crock pot and cook on low for 10-12 hours. I usually uncover the pot near the end of cooking to allow the stew to thicken. Turn off the heat and add the frozen peas. If you can wait allow the stew to sit in the fridge overnight and re-heat the stew the next day.
Optional items: One busy little dog to help you cook; Holly likes to stand on a low wooden stool I keep by the cupboards, I use it to reach the top shelves, and watch as I work. I give her some of the raw carrots to eat otherwise she tries to take whatever she can reach. There will also be one or more cats weaving in and out under my feet hoping something good will fall their way.
I was successfully in making biscuits however; I didn’t quite finish the biscuit blanket.
Fall cooking on the East Coast.