It seems like every holiday meal I can remember has been accompanied by some form of dinner roll. Whether they were made from scratch or (more commonly) from a can with a tiny little dough boy fond of getting his belly poked (I always found that odd...) no holiday dinner was complete without some form of roll. So, how do you improve on this often overlooked - but no less important side dish? Simple, you make sure it fits your needs at the table.
It's Thanksgiving, and while you want to have a roll on the side, you don't want to fill up on bread before you get to the turkey, potatoes, green beans, corn and other goodies. The solution is to make a light and fluffy bread that is full of flavor but won't weigh down your stomach. Enter the popover.
The Recipe: Basic Popovers
Original Recipe Found In: Food Network Magazine (November 2011) Recipe by Alton Brown
What You'll Need:
1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter (Melted and cooled) Plus 1 Tablespoon for the pan
4 3/4 Ounces of All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
2 Large Eggs (At room temperature)
1 Cup Whole Milk (At room temperature)
I don't know what rock I was living under for the first 24 years of my existence, but I had never even heard of popovers until I read about them in this month's Food Network Magazine. Apparently they are pretty common (so common that they then even have their own pans!). You can fill popover with all sorts of fillings and goodies - they really are quite the culinary playground. Tonight, we're just making a basic popover - and only using a muffin pan...so we'll see how that goes. Baby steps, right?
The key to making a perfect, fluffy popover is in the batter and the cooking technique. A hot oven and wet batter will create a perfect popover. The heat causes the sides and bottom of the popover to set quickly, which traps a lot of moisture in the bottom of the popover. This moisture quickly turns into steam, which rises to the top of the popover, creating a great fluffy, air filled pocket on top.
To begin making the popover, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease the baking pan with 1 tablespoon of butter. Next, combine the melted butter, milk, eggs, flour and salt in a food processor and blend until everything is combined, about 30 seconds.
If you are using a muffin tin rather than a popover pan be sure to leave on space between each cup so the popovers have room to expand. If you can, use a dark muffin tin as they will absorb and maintain the heat for a longer period of times than a light muffin tin.
Pour the batter into the baking pan, filling each cup about 1/3 to 1/2 full. Place the baking pan into the 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes. Make sure you don't open the oven during cooking. You are trying to keep the temperature high so the steam can raise the tops of the popover - opening the door will reduce the heat and you'll lose your steam powered cooking.
Once the popovers are golden brown, remove them from the pan and place them on a cooling rack. Using a knife, pierce each popover on the top to release the steam. Allow to cool slightly and serve while still warm. Enjoy!
Just as advertised, these rolls were puffed full of air - making them light and fluffy. They're light on flavor (more of a neutral bread) which means that it absorbs its surrounding flavors very well. We had ours with butter and honey - but jam, or even gravy would be great on these biscuits. Considering there are variants including garlic, cheddar and whole wheat at your disposal - you should never be bored with a popover recipe.
As a side note - we were underprepared for this dish. We didn't have a popover pan, we didn't even have a deep muffin pan. Our shallow muffin pan worked out okay - but the popovers stuck something terrible because our pan was designed to be used with cupcake papers, not used 'au natural'. Despite that - we still ended up with an edible (albeit not too pretty) dish!
That's all we have for you this week. We're back on Monday as we continue to delve into more turkey day recipes. Until then,