Monday, February 25, 2008

The dregs of February

I'm not a big fan of being cold. While I do enjoy a Fall day when the air is crisp and I need to wear something under a sweater, the bone-chilling, bitter cold of a western Pennsylvania February has me craving something hot and steamy.

A blog-favorite of mine posted her recipe for Sweet Potato and Molasses Beef Stew on her website, but, of course, I changed it to suit my fancy. The recipe directions she includes are excellent. I leave out the celery, the carrots, and the white potato and double (or triple) the amount of sweet potatoes. I also doubled the amount of molasses, because although I did not want a pronounced molasses flavor, I did want to be able to taste a hint of it. The last thing I did was make a small amount of butter and flour roux, which I cooked to a deep brown (about 10-12 min; 3 Tbsp butter, 1/4 cup flour.) It added another depth of flavor and thickened this up in a most fantastic way. Due to the wee littles, I like stews to be rather thick; less dribbling down shirts is a good thing.

This is hearty and delicious and something that makes the bleak and icy landscape a bit more tolerable. I highly recommend that you make it.

Oh, as an aside, do be sure to try her Salmon Noodle Casserole. It has become a family favorite 'round these parts.