A hearty and comforting stew, served over flavourful popovers, for a nice twist on a classic dish. Be sure to have your popover ingredients set out to come to room temperature before mixing by setting them out 30 minutes ahead. You don't need a popover pan for the popovers. A muffin tin will work well. Will make 6 large popovers or 10-12 in a muffin tin.
Italian Beef Stew:
1 1/2-2lbs.stewing beefor any marinating steak, cut into chunks
400g.can cherry tomatoesor you can use a small can of diced tomatoes - about 1 1/2 cups
1/8tsp.red pepper flakes
1/2tsp.herbes de provenceor dried basil
1 1/2cupspotatoesdiced in a small dice
Salt and pepperto taste, but season generously
Freshly chopped parsley
Parmesan Herb Popovers:
3largeeggsat room temperature
1 1/2cupswhole milkat room temperature
1 1/2cupsall-purpose flour
Several grinds of freshly ground pepper
1/2cupfreshly grated Parmesan cheeseplus more for sprinkling on top, if you like
1/4cupfreshly chopped parsley
For the stew: In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Working in two batches (so as to not crowd the pan), brown meat on all sides and remove to a plate. Reduce heat to medium.
Add onion and carrots and cook, stirring, until onion are softened and translucent. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add beef broth and stir well to loosen the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add tomatoes, spices, butter, vinegar and browned beef pieces and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
After stew has simmered, add potatoes and cook, uncovered, stirring regularly, until potatoes are cooked and stew has thickened, about 30-40 minutes.
Taste and season well with salt and pepper. Stir in a few tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley.
For the popovers: Preheat oven to 450° F. with oven rack in the lower third of the oven (an no rack too close above it). Place popover pan (or muffin tins) in oven to heat while you mix the batter.
In a large bowl (preferably one with a spout for easy pouring), combine the eggs and milk in a large bowl and whisk vigorously until the mixture is very frothy, about 1 minute. Add the flour and salt and whisk until batter is the consistency of heavy cream with some small lumps and air bubbles remaining. Stir in the Parmesan and parsley.
(*NOTE: If using a muffin tin, you’ll need to reduce the baking time. I’d suggest 15 minutes at 450° F. and another 15-18 minutes at 350° F. Watch closely the first time to gauge. You also might want to fill only every other muffin cup, to give the popovers room to grow.)
Remove popover pan from oven and coat lightly with cooking spray. Fill popover cups about half full with batter. Bake bake for 20 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350° F. and continue baking until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes more.
Remove the popover pan from the oven and immediately turn them out onto a wire rack. Using a sharp knife, poke a small opening in the side of each popover to let the steam escape.
To serve, cut popovers in half like you would a muffin. Place the bottom of the popover on a plate and spoon stew over. Top with top of popover or place on the side. Garnish with a bit more fresh chopped parsley.