Episode 79: It’s March in Kentucky
Episode 79: It’s March in Kentucky

Welcome back to this first episode of  March. Today I want to share some recipes from Kentucky Fresh Cookbook. We are knee-deep in March Madness and KHSAA Boys Basketball tournaments here, so I thought it would be fun to take a look at March in Kentucky, much like I did for Thanksgiving and July 4.

Kentucky Barrel Ale Stew
Makes 6 servings

The end of winter and time for one last cold-weather stew before cooking methods give their nod to warmer weather. This variation of beef stew focuses on simplicity: well-browned meat seasoned with garlic, onions, and herbs. I like to bake the stew to surround the pan with gentle heat. After about 1 1/2 hours I add the carrots to prevent them from overcooking. When the stew is finished I have perfectly fork-tender meat and firm, but tender carrots. 

2 1/2 pounds boneless chuck roast, cut into 2-inch pieces

Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 cup canola oil, divided

2 large onions, cut into chunks

4 cloves garlic, smashed

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 bay leaves

One 12-ounce bottle dark stout or ale such as Guiness® or Kentucky Ale®

1/2 cup water

8 carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces

4 ribs celery, cut into 3-inch pieces 

Place the beef in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. In an oven-proof Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Brown the beef in batches without crowding the beef. Remove the browned beef to a plate and continue cooking the next batch of beef until browned. Reduce the heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon oil. Stir in the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes to soften Stir in the thyme and bay leaves. Add the stout or ale and the water and cook, stirring and scraping the browned bits of meat off the bottom of the pan. Add the browned meat and bring to a simmer. Cover and bake and after 1 1/2 hours, carefully remove the carrot and celery from the Dutch oven. Recover and bake for about 45 more minutes until the carrots and beef are fork tender. Remove the bay leaves. Remove the excess fat from the pan juices. Return the pan juices to the meat. Serve warm.

Cast Iron Skillet Soda Bread
Makes one 10-inch round loaf

This soda bread has a batter like a quick bread but is similar in texture to a scone. The flavor is best when served on the day it’s baked. 

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup old-fashioned oats

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 large egg

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 3/4 cups low-fat buttermilk 

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Have ready one 10-inch cast-iron skillet. Rub a bit of oil on the bottom of the skillet to be sure the bread doesn’t stick. Stir together the whole wheat flour, unbleached all-purpose flour, oats, baking soda, and salt blending well. In