Monday, February 1, 2010

What Did You Cook: Winter Edition

The only thing that could have made our icy weekend better for cooking was if the stuff falling from the sky had been flour and freezing grain. So what did you make to make the most of it?

On Saturday, I pulled an aged-out laying hen from the freezer -- a farmer connection steers them my way when he has to cull a few from the flock. They're scrawny and tough, so they're not good for eating, but they're fabulous for stock. After simmering stock for a couple of hours, I put a couple of cups in the freezer and used the rest to make chicken & dumplings, one of the great winter dishes, using some chicken breasts I also had in the freezer.

Some sources claim it's more Southern to make rolled dumplings, but I like drop dumplings. In this case, I made them from good rendered pork lard and some of my precious stash of Red Band flour. They ended up with a tender, fluffy consistency that was sort of like the Southern answer to matzo balls, floating in a rich, lightly thickened broth with a little turmeric and saffron to boost the gold color.

On Sunday, I took one look at our icy street, bade farewell to my usual activities of church and gym, and reached into the freezer again. This time, I pulled out a sirloin tip roast from Baucom's Best grass-fed beef and looked to my bookshelf for inspiration.

Back in August, professional food snarker Regina Schrambling wrote a piece for claiming that people who saw the movie "Julie & Julia" shouldn't buy copies of Julia Child's classic "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" because no one cooks from it. Au contraire, moan ami. The tattered spines on both of my volumes speak to plenty of usage, and this time, Child didn't let me down.

I settled on her simply named "Braised Beef," making a few adjustments. Instead of marinating in red wine, brandy, olive oil and carrots/celery/onion for 24 hours, I had to do it for three. No big deal, it worked fine. Then I seared the beef, cooked down the marinade and added beef stock, put it in the oven for 4 hours and served it up with the cooked-down sauce, glazed carrots and mashed potatoes.

Your turn: What did you cook for winter comfort this weekend?


Anonymous said...

Being a transplanted Buckeye, I am used to snow days, and my family has our own tradition for them. Whenever there was a snow day, we all went to Mom's and made pierogi's from her mothers recipe. I will be attempting this all by myself today since my sisters are still in Ohio and my Mom is snowbirding it in Florida. Wish me luck.

Anonymous said...

On Saturday afternoon, I made some Portuguese Kale Soup - caldo verde - for the first time. My sister had recommended the recipe to me, which she found on the website:
Knowing the weather would be bad, I bought the kale, potatoes and chorizo on Friday. I woudl make this soup again.

Kathleen Purvis said...

What a coincidence, Anon 10:08. One of the things I had time to do was experiment with a milk-based mayonnaise from David Leite's book, "The New Portuguese Table." I was also looking over his kale soup recipes last week, since it's kale season at the farmers' markets.

Lake Norman Foodie said...

I cooked up a batch of Texas Style Chili. I let it simmer all day on the stove (makes the house smell delicious!) Then I serve it over spaghetti noodles and top with cheddar cheese, diced white onions, and a dollop of sour cream. Perfect winter time food!

PalmettoGirl said...

Beef Short Ribs --- begun on the stovetop and then, finished for three hours in the oven. The house smelled divine and the kids couldn't stop asking, "When's dinner?" A new favorite!

petisita said...

Rice pudding, lentil soup, beef stew - as soon as the forecast predicted a day inside, I started planning what to cook Saturday morning - everything in the oven to warm the kitchen. It's all gone!

robw222 said...

Stewed a whole chicken with some carrots and celery, then made a chicken pot pie with part of the meat on Saturday. My husband made some pizzas for lunch. Sunday, leftovers...I had ground beef and pork for making meatballs but never got around to it. And even Monday still had enough chicken to have chicken nachos for lunch as I was lucky enough to be able to work from home.

Finally Monday night did the meatballs... had spaghetti with some and froze the rest for Super Bowl.