Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Covered Dishes - They Feed a Crowd, Celebrate, Console

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Covered Dishes - They Feed a Crowd, Celebrate, Console

Article excerpt

MY ELDERLY aunt lived in a very small town in the South.

Every morning, she turned on the radio to listen to the local news. Each fire, school closing or festival was announced, but my aunt was most interested in the news concerning her friends. A list of "those who had passed on" was read, births were announced, and the sick were mentioned.

The minute my aunt heard a familiar name, she took out a long file box of recipes and began to look for a covered dish to take to the family. Whether it was a joyous or sad occasion, she arrived with a special casserole, stew or potpies. Covered dishes are every bit as popular now as they were 40 years ago. A few weeks ago, I invited some neighbors for a covered-dish dinner at our house. I made a veal stew with caramelized onions and served it over buttered noodles along with a topping of crumbled goat cheese, lemon zest and herbs. The rich brown onions added a depth of flavor, and I used dried rosemary generously as a seasoning. The slight acid taste of goat cheese and lemon was a perfect counterpoint to the sweet onions. Covered dishes will always be part of our culinary heritage. We use them to denote important occasions, and we prepare them often when entertaining. These creations are as popular today as they were in my aunt's era for the same reasons - they can be made ahead, they serve as meals in themselves, and they easily feed a crowd. VEAL STEW WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS, ROSEMARY AND GOAT CHEESE Olive oil 4 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions (3 to 4 medium onions) 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar 2 1/2 pounds veal stew meat, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes 1 tablespoon chopped garlic 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary leaves, crushed Salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more if needed 3 cups reduced-sodium beef stock 1 cup dry white wine 3 sprigs parsley 1 1/4 pounds fresh pasta sheets, cut into 3/4-inch-wide noodles, or fresh fettuccine noodles or 1 pound dried noodles 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 6 ounces firm but creamy goat cheese, broken into small pieces 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (yellow portion of peel) 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large, heavy deep-sided casserole or pan over medium-high heat. …

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