What's the first thing you ever cooked? For me it was tomato soup. I was about ten, and my mother was busy and asked me to make lunch. So I found Molly Katzen's tomato soup recipe from her book The Enchanted Broccoli Forest and found all the ingredients. I remember it being a little too chunky and acidic, but it was edible. That recipe was no small feat for a ten year old who had never cooked. But I'd been watching for years. That small failure was really an accomplishment. I learned to love cooking. I learned that failing and making something twenty times would allow you to be creative and make it the best. I still make that recipe today, and it's a reminder of the challenge of cooking and how we grow from the process. The end result isn't the reason I cook, it's enjoying every single step of making something. Even crying while cutting onions!
I've been thinking about how some of my recipes are really difficult, and I wonder if I should even post them. I keep thinking, "Will anyone make this?" But the process of cooking is why I do it. It's a challenge. You cannot and will not get better at something unless you really challenge yourself. When I look at my very first blog post and now this one, I realize how much I've grown. As a blogger, as a cook, as a writer. Doing something every single day and giving yourself a challenge pays off. I encourage you to take the challenge! We eat three times a day, so make it your very best.
This recipe is nothing short of incredible. I made it, thinking people would be bored with a classic stew recipe, but it turned out so flavorful! And the biscuits on top!!!! That's right, I took a biscuit and cooked it on top of the soup. I was planning on making a pot pie, but Sam doesn't like pot pie. So this is my attempt at a NOT pot pie... but really it's a pot pie in its own way. The biscuit on top absorbs the soup and makes a big doughy dumpling-like vehicle for stew. The white wine in the recipe really reduces down and adds so much incredible flavor. My biscuit recipe is similar to my original flaky biscuit recipe, but it has less butter and uses goat cheese to hold it together. It gives the biscuits a subtle tangy cheesy taste that complements the thyme so well.
The stew base is fairly simple--always use carrots, celery, onions, herbs and your meat. Then simmer with alcohol and broth.
While the stew simmers, you'll want to make the biscuit dough. You have a few options here. After you've cut the biscuit dough you can place them all on top of the soup and put the soup pot into the oven at 450 for ten minutes. Or you can put soup into individual oven safe bowls or ramekins and place a biscuit on top of each and bake for ten minutes. Or you can just bake the biscuits separately and serve with the soup. Same process 450, ten minutes.
This is one of my favorite stew recipes that I've adapted from Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution cookbook. The biscuits are an original recipe :)
CHICKEN STEW WITH GOAT CHEESE AND THYME BISCUITS
For the stew:
2 carrots, peeled and chopped crosswise
1 celery stick, thinly sliced crosswise
2 small onions diced
1.5 lb of raw chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tbsp flour
fresh thyme sprigs
salt and pepper
1 cup of dry white wine
1 cup of chicken broth
1 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 lemon, juiced
Place a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add a tbsp olive oil and add the onion, carrot, celery and thyme. Saute until onions are translucent. Add the chicken and flour, stirring to coat the chicken in the flour. Add the wine, broth, lemon juice, and tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and back down to a simmer. Simmer over low heat with the lid on for one hour. Remove the lid and continue to simmer for another half hour. Remove the thyme sprigs.
Make the biscuit dough recipe below.
When stew is done, you can place uncooked biscuits on top of the stew in the dutch oven and place in the oven at 450 for ten minutes. Or you can use small oven safe ramekins on a baking sheet and do the same.
For the biscuits:
2 cups bread flour (all purpose will work)
1 TBSP baking powder
a pinch of salt
3/4 cup milk
5 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 oz of cold goat cheese
1 tbsp fresh thyme
Preheat your oven to 450 F. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Cut in the cold butter with a fork. You can use your hands for this. Break up the goat cheese into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Mix with your hands until the mixture resembles corn meal. Add the thyme and mix together. Pour in the milk and stir with a fork until it's sticky. Then form dough into a ball.
Knead onto floured surface until dough is smooth, about one minute. Form into a ball and roll out with a pin or your hands to one inch thick.
Use the floured rim of a glass or a biscuit cutter to cut the biscuits, making sure to press straight down and not to twist the cutter in the dough.
You can cook the biscuits separately by placing biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes until golden. Or like I mentioned above you can place the uncooked biscuits on top of your dutch oven full of stew and bake in the oven at 450 for ten minutes. Another option is to put stew into small oven-safe ramekins, place the raw biscuits on top of the soup and bake at 450 for ten minutes. The choice is yours!