Monday, October 24, 2011

Warming Stew and Rolls-Yum

In NYC the Magnolia Bakery and the Buttercup Bake Shop  are well know for their cupcakes, and for being over rated.   Take a look at this picture of a line of sugar desperate tourists outside of Magnolia:

Its not that the cupcakes aren't good, they are fine, just  not two hour wait fine, particularly as you can make that at home in half the time.  The bakeries are also at the center of some controversy.  They are blamed for starting the cupcake culture craze and setting back feminism and the stores were also at the center of a decidedly un-sweet feud that that the NYC gossip press was mad for, see this article.

If  you ask me though what Magnolia Bakery should be famous for is a much less popular cookbook, Magnolia Cooks at Home, written by Alyssa Torrey that has lots of tasty recipes.  As a bonus for dog lovers the cookbook has cute picture of her and her Collies in their upstate New York Home.  Most importantly it has best recipe for beef stew I have ever tasted, trust me it is way better then any cupcake (and I like cupcakes).

Beef and Vegetable Stew 

1 to 2lbs of beef stew meat, such as boneless chuck in 1 to 2 inch pieces
1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp Sweet Hungarian Paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup minced garlic
3 cups of red wine (I use Merlot)
1 14 oz can of Tomato Sauce, I use Muir Glen
1 6 oz can of Tomato Paste
1 lb Yukon gold Potatoes or white baby creamer potatoes unpeeled and cut in 1 inch chunks.
1 1lb carrots, peeled and cut in 1 inch pieces
1 large yellow onion diced
1 16 oz package Cascadian Farm frozen green peas
1 16 oz package of egg noddles
1 bunch of scallions
Parmesan cheese
Sour Cream

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Toss the meat with flour, paprika, salt, and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a large oven safe pot over medium heat and add the garlic and beef (and any flour left in the bowl).   Brown for 5 minutes.

Add the wine, tomato sauce, tomato paste, potatoes, carrots, and onion and stir well.  

Cover the pot and place it in the oven and cook for 3 1/2 hours, stirring about every 45 minutes.  Add the peas and cook 45 minutes more.

Towards the end of the cooking time prepare the egg noodles and toss with butter to taste, scallions, and Parmesan cheese to taste.

Serve the stew in bowl atop of the egg noodles with a small dollop of sour cream, trust me its tasty.

We smell stew!

Of course I said stew, and rolls, and I meant it.  I like to serve the stew with Parker House Rolls.  The famous buttery rolls invented in Boston in the 1870s.   Of course you could buy frozen rolls but they taste so much better made from scratch and they really are the easiest yeast bread to make.   I  use the recipe from the Pioneer Woman, as her version seems to have the most butter and therefor must be the best (although I did reduce the butter a bit).

Don't crowd the rolls like I did

Parker House Rolls


  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • 1 stick, plus 3/4 of a stick, of butter
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 package Fleischman's Active Dry Yeast
  • 5 cups King Arthur's Bread Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon  Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon  Baking Soda
  • 2 and 1/2 tsps Salt

Preparation Instructions

Combine 2 cups milk, 1 sticks butter, and sugar in a large pot. Bring to barely a simmer, turn off heat and allow to cool for 30 minutes, until it is just lukewarm.
Sprinkle in the yeast and 4 cups of bread flour. Stir to combine, then cover and allow to rise for 1 hour. I let it rise on top of the stove since the warmth of stew cooking helps.

After 1 hour, add baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 additional cup of flour. Stir to combine. Turn out onto a floured surface, like a wooden board. Knead dough for 8 to 10 minutes, then form into a ball and cover with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place (again on top of the oven is good) for 30 to 45 minutes.

Melt 3/4 of a stick of butter in the microwave.  Put the dough onto the floured board and roll out to 1/2 inch thick with a floured rolling pin.  Cut out circles with a floured biscuit cutter. Dunk each circle in melted butter, then immediately fold in half and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, flat side down. Press lightly to encourage sealing. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Cover with a towel and allow rolls to rise 45 minutes. When you get to the last 15 minutes of baking time take the stew out of the oven and keep it warm on the stove top at very low heat.  Turn the oven heat up to 400 degrees.

When the rolls have finished rising and the oven is at 400 bake them for 15 minutes. Serve right away.

(Note: Be very careful to never, ever give dogs any uncooked yeast dough, it is very topic as it can expand in their stomachs causing blockages).


  1. It is funny what takes off, isn't it? We have some places in Chicago that are really just mediocre, but people go crazy and wait in long lines to eat there. We don't get it.

    The stew looks delish! A perfect meal for a cool fall evening.

    Your pal, Pip

  2. Yummy-lookin' stew there!

  3. I was amazed to find we have a grocery store that has crowds that you expect for some rock concert. Groceries really?? Now if there was a shortage, sure. No this was just because of the brand had opened a store in the area. People are odd.

  4. Yum sure looks tasty. We will have to try those cupcakes. Wonder if lazy will make us something like a roll. She tasted the dough. Wonder if she is going to get a block?
    Benny & Lily

  5. Okay so I have a sweet tooth and all, but a 2 hr wait for cupcakes?? No way jose!!

  6. Y-U-M!!!!!!!!! (I have been to Magnolia Bakery and found their chocolate cupcakes to be rather dry. But this stew recipe sounds delish! I'm definitely making this when the weather gets a little cooler here.)