Mexi Coleslaw

So what’s the craziest thing that’s happened during a Zoom meeting for you? Mine have been fairly tame so far. I mean, other than that news guy showing up the week we started all of this.

In general, I’ve managed to mute out background noise (using my son’s Fortnite headset). I’ve been, if not “professionally dressed,” at least decent (I get cold a lot, so apparently I’m always in the same sweatshirt). I don’t have any babies who cry or drive a firetruck across the keyboard. Yes, occasionally the ten-year-old pops up with a chicken, but my students become more engaged during that part of the lesson than any other.

But one time? The thirteen-year-old walked in with a cabbage. This was unusual on a variety of levels. First, he is the most easily embarrassed member of the family. 7th grade is hard, y’all. But a sweet neighbor apparently bought a bunch from a grower who used to mostly sell to restaurants, and dropped one off for us. So he walked into the screen on a virtual department head meeting with a big, green cabbage.

The point of this story? I’m not even sure. But we did make some really good coleslaw.

This is our favorite variation on “Bright Cabbage Slaw” from Samin Nosrat’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat… which is a wonderful read (and not a bad Netflix show, either).

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head green cabbage, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, sliced very thin (red, if you have it… I didn’t)
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Procedure:

  • Core and chop the cabbage. Place in a colander and toss with two generous pinches of salt. Let sit for about 20-25 minutes to drain (ours didn’t produce very much liquid, but that’s ok)
  • Place the onion, jalapeno, lime juice, and another pinch of salt in the bowl you will use to serve the slaw. Allow the onion mixture to macerate for about 20 minutes (this will remove the sharp bite).
  • After 20 minutes, add the cabbage to the bowl with the onion and jalapeno. Add the cilantro and olive oil and toss well to coat.
  • Taste for seasonings (you may need a pinch or two more of salt). This is best if you give the flavors another 30 minutes to mingle, and you can make it up to a day ahead. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Enjoy!

Pavlovas

I thought I wasn’t a stress buyer. I didn’t order N-95 masks on Amazon or stock up on an unnecessary amount of toilet paper. But when we couldn’t find any eggs in any grocery stores for a week, I did let my husband talk me into baby chicks. And then my friend sent me a New York Times article and apparently, I am part of a national trend. A baby chick trend. Insert self-deprecating eye roll.

Also, we did finally find some eggs. Sort of an embarassingly lot of eggs. And Easter is coming! So I made one of my favorite egg-heavy recipes — miniature berry pavlovas.

Ingredients:

  • 5 egg whites at room temperature (note: eggs separate more easily when cold, but whip more easily at room temperature, so separate your eggs first and then wait a bit to whip them)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream, beaten with 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup assorted berries, for serving

Procedure:

  • Whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until they begin to be opaque with large bubbles. Slowly add the sugar, pouring in a slow but steady stream. Continue beating until soft peaks form (but do not overbeat — these should not be dry). When you drag a spoon through the beaten egg whites, the line should mostly stay visible.
  • Preheat your oven to 275.
  • Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon or pipe heaping tablespoons of the meringue onto the baking sheet. These spread some, but not tremendously, so leave some space between each one. You can flatten them slightly in the middle to create more of a “nest.”
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes until lightly browned and dry.
  • While the meringues bake, whip the cream and wash and cut your berries.
  • Top the cooled meringues with whipped cream and berries (or chocolate mousse and whipped cream and berries, if you’re William)
  • Meringues can be stored for up to 3 days in a ziploc bag, but unless your climate is drier than mine, you will probably need to re-crisp them before serving. To do this, preheat your oven to 300 degrees and let them bake for 5-7 minutes.

Variations:

You can make one giant pavlova using a pie shell or just spreading or piping the meringue into a single big puff on a baking sheet. Then pile the whipped cream and berries in the middle.

To make the delightfully named Eton Mess, crumble the meringues and layer them with the whipped cream and berries in a pretty glass.

Bacon Jam and Greens

I did not grow up eating greens. Maybe my mom thought they were too “country” (also in this category of things my mother never cooked — cabbage, pork chops, and anything fried. She would happily enjoy fried catfish or fried chicken… elsewhere.) Or maybe we were just picky kids (I do, distinctly, remember steamed broccoli with cheese-Whiz being a favorite vegetable side. Adult-me cringes).

But my own kids actually love “squishy kale” (as my oldest once referred to a mix of collard, mustard, and turnip greens — breaking my southern heart just a tiny bit). So when a friend mentioned that the Ruston Farmer’s Market lets you order and pay online, and that she was going on Saturday, well, we got some greens, y’all!

And bacon jam? All the best of sweet and savory, and this recipe makes enough that you will have left over a delicous way to elevate a backyard burger.

This recipe comes from one of my favorite Christmas presents this year: The Southerner’s Cookbook. Did y’all know Garden and Gun wrote a cookbook? Well, they did, and the stories, recipes, and photographs are all as amazing as you’d expect, and then some.

For the Bacon Jam

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bacon, diced
  • 2 medium yellow or sweet onions, diced
  • 1/3 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Dijon or grainy mustard

Procedure

  • Cook the diced bacon in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, until the fat renders and the bacon starts getting crisp. Add the onion and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the onion is translucent, 10-12 minutes. Add the bourbon, brown sugar, and mustard, and simmer for 20-30 minutes until thick. Refrigerate until it’s ready to use.

For the Greens

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs assorted young greens. I used a mix of collards and mustard greens today, but you can use chard, kale, spinach, or turnip greens, too.
  • 1/4 cup Bacon Jam (see recipe above)

Procedure

  • Wash the greens well to remove grit. Remove the tough stems. Dry the greens and rip into bite-sized pieces.
  • Melt the bacon jam in a skillet. (If you are making these the same day you made the bacon jam, just remove all but approximately 1/4 cup of the original mixture and store it in a mason jar… then you’ll only have to wash your skillet once).
  • Add the greens and turn the heat to high. Toss until they start to wilt and release their liquid (about 8-10 minutes). Season with salt and pepper and serve hot. Garnish with hot sauce, if desired.

Enjoy!

French Bread

This is actually the second incarnation of this blog… it started as a project waaayyy back in 2009 as a place to save and share recipes for myself and my friends and family. And as much as I love it, it tends to get pushed to the backburner when life gets busy, which, let’s be honest, is all the time… at least until recently.

I originally wrote about this bread back in 2011, but we are still making it, so I decided to share it again with updated instructions. It’s at the other end of the flavor profile from the No-Knead bread I posted last week — soft and cottony, instead of rugged and hardy. It’s meant to be paired with your favorite gumbo or spaghetti, and it keeps great in the freezer. And it can be made in an afternoon, instead of requiring a whole day.

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages instant yeast, or 1/2 ounce, or 2 Tablespoons if you buy in bulk
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees or so)
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon salt (if you’re not using Kosher salt, which tends to be coarser, you may want to dial this back a bit)
  • 7 cups bread flour (can use all-purpose)
  • 2 Tablespoons soft butter, for the bowl
  • 1 egg, beaten

Procedure:

  • In the bowl of a mixer, bread machine, or a big bowl, combine the yeast, warm water, and sugar. Let it sit for about 5 minutes — you should see the yeast begin to foam.
  • Mix in the salt, then add the bread flour, 1 cup at a time, reserving the last 1/2 cup for when you roll it out later. This will make a very stiff dough. You can do this with the bread hook of a stand mixer, a bread machine, or a spoon, if you want a bicep workout.
  • Use the butter to grease a very large bowl. Dump the dough into the bowl (you may need a spatula), and turn it once to coat it with the butter. Cover with a damp dishtowel or plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  • Once the dough has doubled, use the remaining 1/2 cup of flour to generously flour your countertop. Gently press the dough to deflate and then dump it onto your floured surface (kids love to help with this part). Knead it well and then divide it into 4 equal sections. Using a rolling pin or your hands, shape each section into a long, skinny baguette.
  • Place the four baguettes onto two baking sheets lined with parchment paper (or you can grease them with butter or use Baker’s Joy, Pam with Flour, etc.)
  • Using a sharp knife, score the top of each baguette several times. Then, brush each baguette with the beaten egg.
  • Preheat your oven to 425. Allow the loaves to rise again, uncovered this time, for about 30 minutes while your oven preheats.
  • Bake the loaves for 20-25 minutes, until they are brown and sound hollow when you rap on them. Depending on how your oven heats, you may want to rotate the loaves in the middle.
  • For extra crust, mist the loaves with water a few times during the first 10 minutes of baking.

Assuming you don’t have a constantly-starving teenager in your house, you may not need all 4 loaves at once. Once they have cooled, wrap each loaf tightly in aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, place them in a 350 degree oven, still wrapped, for 10 minutes, then remove the aluminum foil and bake for another 5 minutes.

Enjoy!

Oh, and here’s my favorite picture from the original post. My baby sure has grown up A LOT since then, but he still LOVES this bread (possibly even more than he did originally — he’s hungrier these days).

Banoffee Pie (Banana Caramel Pie)

Have you noticed how much friendlier people have gotten when you’re out walking around? Much to the embarrassment of my kids, I’ve always been a “waver” but now when I see friends or acquaintances or even total strangers, everyone has a huge smile and a wave. It’s like we are collectively saying “Hi! I haven’t been inside with you all day and you’re probably not going to ask me to feed you or complain about your sibling and you’re obviously well and out enjoying the sunshine and HELLO!!” I think everyone, even the introverts, are missing their daily connections.

My friend April writes an amazing Christian blog. Her latest post is “Social Distancing does not equal Isolation” (except she figured out how to make the “does not equal” into a single keyboard character, showing her advanced knowledge of all things blogging… but I digress.) She talks about how physical distance doesn’t have to mean emotional distance from our friends and communities.

For me, that’s meant a lot of Zooming with students (and former students) as far away as Germany, and tonight, even my book club is going virtual. My family group text buzzes with images of nieces and nephews, and I’ve called friends both far and near more times than I have in years. Even this blog is seeing more activity as I try to connect through stories and recipes — and speaking of that, back to the pie.

April is also a HUGE fan of the Olympics. In 2012, she invited us all over for the Opening Ceremonies before the London games. Although I had enjoyed banana caramel pie for years, that night April introduced me to one of my all-time favorite portmanteaus (when you elide two words, like brunch or hangry or spork). Banana toffee (banoffee) pie — sliced bananas and soft caramel, topped with whipped cream and crunchy toffee.

Ingredients:

  • 1 baked and cooled pie shell
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
  • 4-5 bananas, sliced thin
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 toffee bar (Heath or similar) chopped, for garnish

Procedure:

  • Prepare the millk: Remove the paper from the cans of milk, but leave the cans sealed. Place them in your largest pot and cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil and boil for 3 hours, replinishing water as it evaporates. This is largely hands-off, but don’t forget about it (one of my other friends calls this “danger pie” for this very reason — apparently, the cans can explode if left unattended, so don’t do that). Hint: you can boil more cans this way and save the caramel sauce for other purposes.
  • After 3 hours, remove the cans from the water and allow them to cool (but the caramel should still be warm if you want it to pour evenly. You can also reheat it in the microwave, but take it out of the can for this!).
  • Slice the bananas thin. Layer the bananas and the caramel in the pie shell.
  • Meanwhile, whip the cream and sweeten it with the sugar. Top the pie with the cream.
  • Sprinkle with the chopped toffee bar, chill, and serve to those you love!

Enjoy, and reach out to someone today! Hugs!

Chicken Big Mamou

This recipe would not typically qualify as a “Tuesday night meal” for our family. Normally, we’d be rushing from piano to soccer, or Quiz Bowl to tennis, and I’d be looking for something that comes together in less than 30 minutes while kids finish up homework.

Except during a stay-at-home order. And then, sign me up for a long-simmering, delicious kitchen-scenting, project of a weeknight meal like this one.

My friend Mike introduced me to this version of chicken sauce piquante. And like most of my extrovert friends, I know this has been harder on him than many. Mike is a North Louisiana boy who is more than a little in love with South Louisiana culture. He’s a parrain, not just a godfather; he tells the best Boudreaux and Thibodeaux jokes; he rides in Mardi Gras parades; he’s a staunch Catholic, a true LSU fan, and one of the best story tellers I know.

And every once in a while, usually for some big LSU game, he makes Chicken Big Mamou for us. So when my husband brought home chicken thighs and I had hours to let a sauce simmer fragrantly in the background, this definitely gave us something different to enjoy.

Recipe, adapted from Chef Paul Prudhomme

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped fine
  • 2 bell peppers (I prefer red), chopped fine
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 Tablespoons Cajun poultry seasoning (Prudhomme, of course, recommends his own “Poultry Magic.” I didn’t have this, so I substituted a mix of salt, black pepper, garlic powder, thyme, sage, rosemary, and marjoram… just anything you’d usually use to season chicken)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper (start here, but you can always add more)
  • 1 can (2 cups) tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chiken, cubed (I prefer thighs, but you can use breasts, too)

Procedure:

In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped onion and sautee for 8-10 minutes, until translucent but not brown. Add the bell pepper and cook until soft, 10-12 minutes. Add one stick of butter and stir until melted. Then add the garlic, bay leaf, 1 tablespoon Cajun poultry seasoning, and cayenne, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. The goal is to reduce the sauce until it coats the back of a spoon. If you double the recipe, you can let it go even longer.

Meanwhile, cube the chicken and season it with the remaining 2 Tablespoons Cajun poultry seasoning. Set aside (or cover and put in the fridge until the sauce is finished)

When the sauce is thick, in a separate pan, melt half of the remaining stick of butter. Brown half of the cubed, seasoned chicken. Add the cooked chicken to the sauce, then repeat with the rest of the butter and seasoned chicken. Add the chopped green onions.

Cook until heated through, about 15-20 minutes.

Serve over egg noodles (as we did), rice, grits, or even just toast. You can’t go wrong with this one.

It was a big hit with my little extrovert, too.

No-Knead Bread

So, it’s Monday.

For this first time since this stay-at-home thing started, today my motivation completely faded into nothing. I successfully got online bright and early and cancelled plane tickets and hotel reservations for our spring break trip to New York, and then I just gave up.

So, part of my teacher-life is “lunch bunch” — a group of kids who eat lunch in my room every day. And when the stay-at-home order started, we moved it online. Their food has gotten fancier — mushroom spinach omelets instead of microwave ramen — but the basic conversations have stayed the same. It’s what got me off the couch today. Probably the best part is that my foreign exchange students frequently jump on from Germany (and once from Italy!). More than anything, all of their faces and voices make the world seem more connected and hopeful.

Today, I let them pick from a list of already-cooked but need-to-be-blogged about food, and the top two were this bread and a frozen key lime pie (coming soon, I promise).

This bread is high on comfort and low on labor. If you’re looking for something to do with your kids that doesn’t require a long attention span, this is it. Think short bursts of activity punctuated by long periods of relaxing. I recommend watching The English Game (Julian Fellowes and the origin story of British football) or perhaps reading a Louise Penny mystery. Current mood.

Original recipe from Mark Bittman, via the New York Times.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups bread flour (or all purpose, if that’s all you have)
  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups warm water

Procedures:

  • Day 1: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a big spoon. The dough should be wet and shaggy; add more water, a teaspoon at a time, if the dough seems dry. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 18-20 hours. These times are very approximate and this bread is super forgiving so err in either direction.
  • Day 2: The dough should be dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface. Turn the dough out onto the work surface; sprinkle with more flour and fold it a few times. Next, generously flour a dish towel (not terry — smooth is better here). Place the ball of dough, seam side down, onto the floured towel. Cover with a second towel. Let rise for approximately 1-2 hours.
  • Day 2, later: Place a heavy, lidded pot (like a Dutch oven) in the oven and preheat it to 450 degrees Fahreneheit. Once it is hot, remove the pot from the oven (carefully!). Using the towel, gently ease the dough into the pot. Replace the lid and place the pot back into the oven. Bake 25 minutes. Then, remove the lid and continue to bake for 20-30 more minutes, until the bread is browned.
  • Remove using tongs and cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing — If you can keep your family away from it that long!

Enjoy staying in and baking bread!

Hugs!

Salsa

TGIF, y’all!

I’m officially 2 weeks into this working from home gig, and while there are definitely some perks (hot coffee all morning; my lap cat), there are also many drawbacks. But at least I don’t currenlty have a toddler. My sister, who is an artist and museum exhibitions curator in Baton Rouge, has started posting daily about her two-year-old son/co-worker, and it’s hilarious. “My new co-worker says on Wednesdays, we don’t wear pants.” “My new co-worker just threw apple sauce at me because I wouldn’t let him type an email. Now he’s crying on the floor.”

At my house, it’s not that bad. I have to remind people of Zoom schedules with teachers, and the 13-year-old keeps stealing my camera (but I keep stealing the 10-year-old’s headset, so it’s all working out, right?). But other than having to close a door to escape Fortnite celebrations or defeats, I’ve been lucky. Except for one thing.

The SNACKS. Oh my goodness, these people NEVER STOP EATING. How do they survive a normal school day? Are their teachers constantly feeding them and we don’t even know? What is this insanity? Are they all trying to double their body weight by the time this thing is over? As soon as I sit down to grade online, the cry erupts, usually from the teenager: “Mom, I’m hungry!”

On the bright side, at least now he can do some of the heavy lifting in this family. I’m SO glad I wasn’t the one helping my husband replace the heating element in my oven last week!

So, just in case you are in the same boat, let me introduce you to this amazing salsa. It makes a ton and is guaranteed to make my people happy through at least 2 days of snacking. My friend Amy gave me the recipe, although I think it originated with that Oklahoma genius of feeding hungry boys, Ree Drummond. So thanks, Ree!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed
  • One 28 oz can whole tomatoes OR two 12 ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • Two 10 ounce can Rotel tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • Juice of one small lime
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Procedure:

  • Place the onion and the jalapeno into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel chopping blade. Pulse until medium-diced.
  • Add the tomatoes and pulse 3-4 times.
  • Add the garlic, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro leaves, and pulse until combined.
  • Serve with tortilla chips to all the hungry people in your house!

I hope everyone is staying well and sane, and that your bandwidth and starving man-child problems are manageable. Hugs!

Birthday Cupcakes

Birthdays during social distancing can be… challenging. But we copied the idea of a friend and did our best yesterday, going around and waving to his friends from our neighbor’s golf cart, all at a safe distance. He loved getting to see his friends at a distance, but not running out for hugs was hard. But we ended the night with crawfish and cupcakes — and promised him the biggest swimming party ever when all of this is over!

When I was growing up, there was only one kind of birthday cake at my house: chocolate, with chocolate icing. My mom is still famous for Kay’s chocolate cake. But this year, William was having none of it. He wanted yellow cake with blue icing, so we complied.

Based on Ina Garten’s “Flower Cupcakes,” but with different icing because some people in this family don’t like cream cheese icing (although I promise I’m trying to change this opinion).

*NOTE: This truly makes enough cupcakes for a party — 36 generous cupcakes. If you’re hosting a smaller gathering, cut this in half!

For the cupcakes:

  • 2 1/4 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 2 2/3 cups sugar
  • 6 extra large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

For the icing:

  • 3 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk (optional)
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk (or half and half, if you’re out of milk)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 pinch (1/4 tsp) salt (if you’re using unsalted butter)

Procedure:

  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin cups with your favorite soccer-themed liners.
  • Make the cake:
  • Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer with the paddle attachment on high speed until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the eggs, 2 at a time, and beat until well incorporated. Then beat an additional 4-5 minutes until very fluffy. Then add vanilla and sour cream and beat.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and soda.
  • With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  • Fill the cupcake liners with the batter until 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool to room temperature
  • Make the icing:
  • Mix butter, egg yolk, milk, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Tint to the desired color. Beat well, until fluffy. Pipe or spread the icing generously onto the cooled cupcakes and enjoy!

Note: I recommend a cookie scoop for cookies and these cupcakes… and the birthday boy highly recommends the cupcake “sandwich” because he likes his icing between the two halves!

Hugs!

Sunday Stew

It’s no secret to anyone in my family that I use cooking as an escape. If I’ve had a stressful day, or I just want to tune out the world for awhile, I crank up the music on Alexa and proceed to dice, sear, blend, whip, or pipe icing. My side-kicks change over the years — friends, family, and occasionally even students have found their way to the big island in my kitchen. Yesterday was the first day I truly got into my kitchen in a week, and after spaghetti, French bread, and strawberry pie, my family put on a movie and actually managed to feel normal for a bit. And I sincerely hope you can find a bit of that for your family and friends, too.

So this is actually one from the archives — not something I made this weekend. But it is Sunday, and one of the students who helped me move this site to WordPress told me I was too dessert heavy 😉 Here’s to modeling a good response to constructive criticism!

I’ve made a version of this for years and it is high on the list of family favorites, especially for my teenager. The recipe is based on Pioneer Woman’s Sunday Night Stew. As far as tips and tricks, salt and taste as you go, and commit to searing the beef in the browning step — go for dark brown, not gray.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 pounds Chuck Roast, cut into cubes (or beef stew meat)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 1-2 tsp. Worcestershire
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 turnips, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 Tablespoons butter (take this out at the beginning — you won’t use it until the end but it needs to be room temperature)

Procedure:

Cut the roast into 2 inch cubes. Sprinkle the meat with 1 tsp of salt.

Heat half of the olive oil and butter over high heat in a thick-bottomed pot (cast iron or enamel-coated cast iron works great; I use my Le Creuset Dutch oven).

Brown the meat in two small batches, about 2 minutes on each side. Avoid crowding the pan , which reduces browning. (You may need to do more batches, depending on the size of your pan). Remove the browned meat to a plate.

Add the diced onion and a little more salt to the oil/butter in the pot and saute until the onions soft and translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add tomato paste, stirring well, and cook for an additional two minutes.

Slowly add 4 cups of beef stock, stirring constantly. Add the Worcestershire and the sugar and salt and pepper to taste (this will vary depending on how salty your stock is. Taste frequently!) Then add the browned beef back to the pot. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 2 hours.

After 2 hours, add the carrots and turnips to the pot. Stir to combine, put the lid on the pot, and cook on low for 30-45 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

If you like a thicker stew, next make a beurre manie by combining 2 tablespoons room-temperature butter and 2 tablespoons flour in a small bowl, using a fork, spoon, or your fingers. Turn up the heat on the stew and whisk in the beurre manie, about 1 teaspoon at a time, until the stew is as thick as you desire.

The original recipe recommended serving this over mashed potatoes, but we love it over grits or egg noodles, too (or by itself, for my kids).

As far as substitutions… let’s see… you could do potatoes instead of turnips (although if you can find turnips, they are amazing in this… and this is coming from someone who did not knowingly eat a turnip until age 35). For the meat, since you are going for a long, slow braise, higher fat content will help your meat stay tender. Chuck roast is our favorite. If you try it with another cut, let us know how it turns out in the comments.

Enjoy your Sunday, and good luck bringing comfort to your loved ones during this stressful time.

Hugs!