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Biscuits Bring Out The Pungent Flavor Of Chives

By Bev Bennett Los Angeles Times Service

Tufts of chives, scattered in my garden like surprise bouquets, are my harbinger of spring.

Nothing has the pronounced grassy, onion flavor of fresh-from-the-garden chives. And, brown-thumbed gardener that I am, I’ve noticed that nothing is as easy to grow or as forgiving. So each year, I have to add to my repertoire of chive recipes to accommodate my increasing harvest.

Chives and biscuits are a current favorite. Baking brings out the distinctive allium aroma, and the contrast of tender texture and potent onion punch is delicious. But it’s not the sort of thing that I, or the other half of my romantic twosome, would want to eat all day, and I usually don’t have the time to make biscuits just to go with dinner.

My solution is to make a savory beef stew, spoon it into a deep pie plate or wide casserole dish and drop the biscuit dough on top, turning the combination into a robust beef pot pie.

If you’re pressed at dinner time, make the beef stew during the weekend. You can freeze it or refrigerate it for a day or two, then finish the recipe about 30 minutes before dinner. You can also serve the stew with the biscuits.

Beef Pot Pie With Chive Biscuit Crust

3 small to medium red potatoes, peeled

1/2 cup baby carrots

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 to 10 ounces beef cubes for stew

3 peeled and halved shallots

1/2 cup dry red wine

1/2 cup beef broth

2 bay leaves

Chive Biscuit Crust (recipe follows)

Cook potatoes and carrots in boiling water to cover until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in medium skillet. Combine flour, salt, paprika and pepper in plastic bag. Add beef cubes and shake to coat. Add beef cubes and shallots to oil and brown beef on all sides. Sprinkle in any leftover seasoned flour and stir in.

Add wine and scrape up any browned bits in skillet. Add beef broth and cook over medium heat until smooth. Stir in bay leaves. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 30 minutes. Cut potatoes and carrots into bite-size pieces and add to meat. Remove bay leaves. Spoon beef mixture into 7-inch ceramic dish.

Prepare Chive Biscuit Crust and drop by spoonfuls around inside edge of dish. Bake at 375 degrees until crust is golden, about 20 minutes. Spoon out filling and crust with each serving. Serve hot.

Yield: 2 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 365 calories, 19 grams fat (47 percent fat calories), 23 grams protein, 21 grams carbohydrate, 71 milligrams cholesterol, 682 milligrams sodium.

Chive Biscuit Crust

1 cup flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup milk plus additional 1 tablespoon if needed

1 tablespoon minced chives

Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Stir in enough milk to make dough that is slightly sticky and can be dropped from a spoon. Stir in chives.

Yield: 4 biscuits.

Note: To bake as biscuits, drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto small, greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown and high, about 15 minutes (check after 10 minutes). Serve warm or freeze, as biscuits don’t keep well.

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