Cabernet Stew and Drop Biscuits (13 October 2001)
The biscuits make a fine complement for the stew, which needs no thickener for three reasons: floured meat, mustard powder, and potatoes.
1 pound beef stew meat, trimmed of excess fat
3 tablespoons flour
Onion salt to taste
Fresh-ground pepper to taste
Put the flour, onion salt, and pepper in a paper bag, shaking a little to mix it. Add the meat in 2 or 3 batches and shake the bag to coat the meat with flour. Shake off excess flour.
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
Half a large red onion, chopped
Fresh garlic to taste, minced
1/2 cup Cabernet Sauvignon wine
Heat the oil on medium-high heat, then add the floured meat. Turning frequently, brown the meat on all sides, then add the onion and garlic. Sauté until the onions are transparent, then add the wine. Simmer until the liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup and the alcohol odor is gone.
1 to 1-1/2 cups rich beef stock*
1 large rib celery, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
5 small Yukon gold potatoes, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons Keen’s mustard powder
1 tablespoon summer savory
Another touch of onion salt and pepper to taste
10 Brussels sprouts, cleaned
Add remaining ingredients, except sprouts, mixing everything thoroughly. Simmer stew for a bit less than 1 hour, covered and stirring occasionally. After the hour, place sprouts on top of stew and simmer for another 20 minutes.
*Note: Two points about beef stock: (1) the stock should be deep brown, and (2) it should be more similar to a thin jelly than a liquid.
Sour Cream and Dill Drop Biscuits
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
3 tablespoons sour cream
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh dill
2% milk (or whole milk) to create a biscuit dough
Preheat oven to 425° F. Mix dry ingredients. Using a pastry cutter or 2 table knives, cut butter into dry ingredients until thoroughly incorporated. Add sour cream and dill, combine, then add milk to create a sticky biscuit dough.
Grease a baking sheet with butter, then place two-tablespoon “drops” of dough on the sheet, leaving at least one inch between each biscuit. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.