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Culinary wizardry: Cookbook offers look into real foods in the Harry Potter series

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 8 2011 3:00 p.m. MST

4 cups chicken broth or 4 cups water and 4 teaspoons chicken-flavored soup and seasoning mix

Freshly ground black pepper

Salt

2 cups whole milk, divided

1/3 cup flour

Heat the butter in a four-quart pot. Add the onions to the pot and cook over low heat until the onions are golden, about 30 minutes.

Add the chicken broth or the water and soup mix, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer until the onions are very soft, about 30 minutes.

Combine 1?3 cup of the milk with the flour in a bowl and mix well, beating out the lumps with a whisk. Add this mixture slowly to the soup while stirring constantly. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens. Add the rest of the milk and just heat through; do not boil. Serves 6.

— "The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook," by Dinah Bucholz

Individual Beef Pies

One of Britain's most popular snacks, individual-sized meat pies are widely available in that country, even at convenience stores. However, this home version of beef pie with onions and mushrooms tastes much better than most commercial versions, more like the nice homemade pies Mrs. Weasley sends to Harry once he learns he's expected to survive the summer on Dudley Dursley's grapefruit-heavy "slimming" diet in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire."

Pie crust:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold butter, cut into pieces

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into pieces

1/2 to 3/4 cup cold water

Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter and shortening over the flour mixture. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse yellow meal without any white powdery bits remaining, about 15 pulses. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle 1/2 cup water over the mixture and toss with a rubber spatula until the dough sticks together. Add more water 1 tablespoon at a time if the dough is dry (better too wet than too dry). Divide the dough in half, form into two disks, wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least two hours or up to three days.

Filling:

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

8 ounces chuck steak, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 cup chicken broth

1/8 teaspoon ground thyme

1 tablespoon tomato paste

Salt and pepper

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet and add the beef in two batches, searing over high heat on each side until crusty brown, about four minutes per side. Transfer each batch to a plate and set aside. Add the remaining oil to the skillet and heat it over medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook, stirring and scraping up the fond (browned bits), until the onions are well browned. Add the flour and mix until combined. Add the chicken broth and again mix until combined. Return the beef to the skillet; add the thyme, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Simmer for two hours. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and cool to room temperature.

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