Simple yet delicious, this Yorkshire Pudding recipe will add that finishing touch to your families holiday meals.
Can you believe the holidays are just around the corner? I mean, it seems like yesterday that we were celebrating Fourth of July!! Where does the time go? Seriously. Can someone tell me? The next thing you know it’s going to be Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then New Years and it starts all over again.
I do love the holidays, though. I love all the time I spend in the kitchen cooking and baking up a storm. Not only does it bring back family memories, but it also brings back new memories I’m making with my own family. Like how the whip if a meringue reminds me of Easter with my husband and pepperoni cookies with mom.
I have a confession to make.
I’m not one to read a cookbook. I will flip through, look at the photos, and check out the titles to pick recipes I want to make. That’s not the case with MAD HUNGRY FAMILY by Lucinda Scala Quinn. Flipping through this cookbook one Saturday morning, as I usually do with cookbooks, but I stopped to read some highlighted passages. I can only surmise that those parts are highlighted for a reason, and I was right.
I had a completely different post planned for this recipe and this post, I read and re-read what I had written and edited it here and there. My post was all about family and holidays and cooking. It talked about keeping it simple, spending time with family, and memories of cooking growing up.
That post was a killer post. Except it was missing one thing; the true message I wanted to share about MAD HUNGRY FAMILY. So, I decided to rewrite the whole post in the hopes that I can convey the feelings and emotions that surfaced as I read this cookbook.
“In an instant, one whiff can trigger the memory of how it felt in your childhood kitchen.”
No truer words could be written. Making holiday family favorites always takes me back to the kitchen when I was a wee one trying to help with the mashed potatoes, the stuffing, the pie. I was willing to do anything I could to learn from the yin and yang masters of our kitchen; Mom and Dad.
I remember Dad standing next to me teaching me how to dice not just in large pieces, but in the tiniest of dices and how to control the knife with each cut. Mom showing me how to tell if the peaks were stiff enough on the meringue. Dad the cook and Mom the baker with a few exceptions. To me, they were the master chefs, and still are.
My parents weren’t the only ones to “encourage lots of shortcuts, give permission to swap ingredients, and call attention to the subtle details.” Lucinda Scala Quinn gives the same advice and snippets of substitutions throughout her cookbook. These snippets resulted in memories of all the skills and knowledge my parents taught me and my sister when we were growing up.
Like saving the pork bone!
I have two in my freezer for bean soup. Dad was adamant about saving that ham hock as he called it. It makes the most amazing broth and bean soup in town. He always served it with raw onion and sweet cornbread.
Sometimes, it was just the title of the recipe that took me back to the little, new community in our new housing development. Sunday Gravy Pocket Pies. Simple as that. Annie, our Sicilian neighbor from New York City, called her meat sauce “gravy.” Instantly, it was a Christmas Eve dinner with “skeds” as she called them topped with her “gravy” at that little table just off the kitchen. Our family always included the neighbors. Didn’t yours?
Yet another passage in MAD HUNGRY FAMILY, published by Workman, that, consequently, puts a smile on my face is the passage where Quinn says, “You can’t beat chicken thighs for flavor. Yes, it’s dark meat (breast lovers, stay with me here), but if you’re braising, slow-roasting, or slow-cooking thighs stand up to the heat, deliver the flavors, and result in an excellent moist texture.”
After the holidays, Dad makes turkey soup. He always insists that the dark meat was the best for soup. I always thought it was due to the amount of dark meat that was left after the main dinner. It wasn’t until I made my first cacciatore with the delicious gems that I realized he was right.
Lucinda Scala Quinn has a passage about chopping your own broccoli. This transported me to the our kitchen preparing the crudité for our Derby Party in May. We chopped carrots, celery, broccoli, Vidalia onions, and cauliflower. All by hand. She’s right! Convenience products do remove you from your connection with food. When you prepare it by hand you savor it more.
Because of this, all our holiday meals were prepared by hand. Apart from the cornbread stuffing, all dishes were made by hand and from scratch. I insisted on boxed cornbread. It’s still a staple at our table, but I’m working on a homemade recipe for cornbread stuffing.
“For God’s sake, use an instant read thermometer.” I cannot agree with Quinn more! For years I have used that pop up thermometer on the bird and it’s just not accurate. The thighs are almost always not cooked through. It’s the best way to tell exactly what temperature your meat is, no matter kind you’re cooking. Yes, including steak, but especially poultry and especially when it’s stuffed; as is typical of the holidays.
This final passage I read to my husband.
“Do the backward math to get all the food on the table when you want it.”
He didn’t quite understand what she and I were talking about. I explained that since we have traditional dishes that we make for Thanksgiving, I know how long everything will take to cook.
Once you know how long everything will take from start to finish, then you can back into the time you want to eat dinner. You want to eat at 6 and your turkey takes 2 hours, then you put it in at 3:30 and allow for 15 minutes to rest and 15 minutes to carve. For mashed potatoes, they take about 30 start to finish, so you start them at 5:15 and allow them to rest while you carve the bird. Reverse calculate your meal!
For this campaign, there were certain recipes to choose from. Having a day job usually puts me at a disadvantage for these events because I’m usually last to put in my selection and its sort of like picking the kickball team. For me, that wasn’t the case with this event.
I can honestly say I was ECSTATIC to see Yorkshire pudding on the list.
My mother was the one who introduced me to Yorkshire puddings and made them one year for the holidays. I fell in love with them the first time I tried those little puffs of light and airy bread. They always remind me of Mom she always brought the international flair to the table for the holidays.
If you’re not familiar with Lucinda Scala Quinn, she was the senior vice president and executive editorial director of food and entertaining at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. She is the author of four cookbooks including Mad Hungry: Feeding Men & Boys and Mad Hungry Cravings. She appears often on morning television; especially on QVC where she sells her Mad Hungry Kitchenware. Quinn was also the host of her own show called Mad Hungry: Bringing Back the Family Meal.
As if all this wasn’t enough, Quinn still cooks not only for her and her husband, but their three boys. I imagine you must have some serious skills to feed those mad hungry men. You can see those mad skills in her Instagram feed and Facebook page. If you’re not following her on Twitter, you should. Her feed is full of recipes and bits of wisdom.
#WeekdaySupper is sharing recipes from this fabulous cook book. Please follow the Pinterest board to see which recipes we are sharing and what quips of wisdom each one of us gained through MAD HUNGRY FAMILY. What holiday recipes are favorites at your table? What smells take you back to your childhood?
In my house, it might still be Christmas without the beef, but the holiday would effectively be called off without the Yorkshire pudding. Every year, regardless of the guest count, I double the batter (which can be made several hours in advance) and get ready to stick a second batch in the oven just as we sit down to dinner with the first batch! If you don’t use it up, refrigerate it overnight, and make a batch in the morning for a fresh-baked addition to leftovers. Muffin tins will work just fine, but for the deepest, largest puffed beauties, get a popover pan. And the secret to the highest, puffiest popovers is to have the batter at room temperature and to preheat the greased pan so that when the batter hits, the rise begins immediately (though you won’t see it right away).
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3 1/4 cups whole milk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons pan drippings, reserved from the beef roast (see page 215)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place foil or a sheet pan below the rack you’re using for the Yorkies to catch any overflow. Place the eggs, milk, flour, salt, and pepper in a blender and blend on high until the mixture is combined and resembles heavy cream. (This can be done several hours in advance.)
- Pour 1 teaspoon pan drippings into each popover cup (half that amount if using a muffin tin). Heat in the oven for 2 minutes.
- Quickly and carefully pour the batter into the cups, filling each about halfway. Put directly in the oven and do not open the door; keep the light on to watch what’s going on in there! Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 30 minutes (the Yorkies will puff to the highest height, but not until the last 10 minutes of cooking time). Serve immediately.
*One Big Pudding*
- This batter will also bake beautifully in one 9-by-13-inch pan. Preheat the oven to 400°F, add a couple of tablespoons of beef fat to the pan, and pour in the batter. Bake as directed above.
- I substituted butter for the pan drippings in this recipe.
- Recipe used with permission from Workman Publishing Company.
Monday, November 21, 2016 – Fig and Pancetta Stuffing – My Life Cookbook
Tuesday, November 22, 2016 – Yorkshire Pudding – A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
Wednesday, November 23, 2016 – Buttery Spiced Poached Pears – April Golightly
Thursday, November 24, 2016 – Upside-down Apple Tart – Alida’s Kitchen
Friday, November 25, 2016 – Princely Potatoes – Crazed Mom