Just say the word Popover and people of a certain age get starry eyed as they remember with great fondess those fluffy, eggy, individual portions of yum that were served in restaurants and on special occasions back in the day.
Popovers have recently reentered my consciousness as it was decided they would be part of a menu to celebrate a friend’s 60th, she being a longtime fan of the savory treat. Also last weekend, I pulled out a recipe that has been in my folder for almost a decade for Nutmeg and Black Pepper Popovers that I thought might be a good accompaniment to the Braised Shorts Ribs I was making for dinner. That short rib recipe came from the New Basics Cookbook and looked so interesting, using cinnamon to flavor a tomato based sauce that I thought would yield a similar flavor profile to some of our Armenian meat based dishes that we season with allspice (it was close).
Let’s return to the popovers. What is so fun about serving them is that when you don’t tell anyone you are making Popovers and they suddenly appear on the table, it’s like Christmas morning. Truly. In fact, at the aforementioned birthday celebration, nearly everyone but especially the men were completely thrilled to see my friend Marte’s beautiful puffed creations. And last weekend, my husband’s reaction was “you didn’t tell me you were making popovers!” when I brought them to the table. I may have intentionally ommitted them from the menu I shared that we were serving to my sister and brother in law. Hey, it’s nice to be a hero in the kitchen from time to time and popovers are a sure bet.
Anyhow, the recipe for Nutmeg and Black Pepper Popovers is a slight departure from your typical Popover, but I thought I would post it in case you are feeling adventurous and wanted to try a little different flavor profile. They have the warmth of nutmeg, a bit of heat from some black pepper and some finely chopped parsley to give them a little color. The recipe works perfectly to make 12 good sized Popovers and I venture to say that if you want to keep them just “good old regular Popovers”, you can omit the nutmeg, pepper and parsley and you will be good to go. Oh and guess what? You can make the batter up to a day ahead which is really helpful during the holidays!
The hardest part of making popovers is that they really need to be made right before serving so they can show off as they tend to do, all puffed up and ready for a photograph. Otherwise, they will eventually shrink (but still be tasty). Here’s the good news if you want to make them as part of your Thanksgiving meal. They cook in the same amount of time you need to have your turkey resting outside of the oven before carving so it could work out quite nicely I believe.
And if you can’t make these popovers on Thanksgiving, how about preparing them as part of your breakfast the following morning, alongside some scrambled eggs and maybe some maple bacon. Hmm. I may have to do that myself.
From my family to yours, wishing you all a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving. Until next time…