Staying in? We've got you covered -- both on the culinary and entertainment fronts. Now presenting Dinner and a Movie -- a guide to a do it yourself evening of food and film.
Winter is still here, even if only for another week. To acknowledge the end of winter, this week we combine the Oscar nominated film Winter's Bone, a suspenseful saga about 17-year-old Ree Dolly's survival in a hard-luck Ozark community, with small game and winter vegetables. Like Ree says, "Now, come on over here and watch me do this so you know how."
Film: Winter's Bone (2010)
Popcorn Alternative: Root Beer Glazed Popcorn
Entrée: Rabbit Stew with Bread and Butter
Beverage: Beer or Root Beer
See what we're cookin' after the jump...
Film Breakdown: A hardscrabble girl must provide for her siblings and mentally ill mother while trying to track her missing father. This Ozark mystery is original and compelling, and earned its nomination for Best Picture. Jennifer Lawrence (The Bill Engvall Show) and John Hawkes (Miracle at St. Anna, Lost) were nominated for Academy Awards for their incredible performances. DVD.
Root Beer Glazed Popcorn with Salted Peanuts
To make glaze to coat four cups of popped corn, place the following ingredients in a heavy saucepan: add 2 tablespoons butter, 1/4 cup granulated sugar and a 1/4 cup light corn syrup, use 2 teaspoons of root beer extract or 3 tablespoons of a root beer with a strong flavor. Let boil for two and half minutes, stirring constantly.
Heat oven to 250 degrees. Pour glaze over popcorn and turn with a spatula to coat evenly. Spread coated popcorn onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 250 for 15 minutes to set the glaze. The popcorn will keep its crunch if kept in an airtight container.
Ree Dolly uses whatever she has available to feel her little brother and sister, she even goes squirrel hunting. Squirrel is hard to come by in these parts.
Inspired to use rabbit by Charlie the Beer Guy, who brought a version of this dish to this year's Oscar party, we added rutabaga and parsnips to ours. We also threw in locally sourced carrots, celery, and couple of small potatoes.
Cut the rabbit in half. Season meat with salt, pepper, paprika, or whatever seasonings you like.
In a large pot, heat some vegetable oil, and brown the pieces of meat. Remove pieces from the pot then add a tablespoon of butter and the veggies.
While the veggies are cooking, mix a tablespoon of flour with more of the spices used to season the rabbit.
Sprinkle this mixture over the veggies and stir until all of the flour is evenly moist with cooking fats.
Add liquid (beer works, as does wine, or chicken broth) to deglaze and then add diced tomatoes, and chicken broth to cover.
Put in some garlic, a pinch of rosemary, and a bay leaf. Let simmer until meat is cooked through, veggies are soft, and the liquid has thickened to your liking.
Cut rabbit into serving sizes pieces. We were able to cut eight pieces about the size of a small chicken thigh from our rabbit, which was just over two pounds. Serve with bread and butter.
Rabbit stew is delicious, and while it doesn't taste just like chicken, it has a similar flavor and a firmer texture. It is lean, and does not taste gamey.
Lucky for us, rabbit is available at Lee Lee's, already skinned and cleaned, avoiding what Ree and the kids have to do to the squirrels.