Tuesday, December 4, 2007

"Kings in the Kitchen - Favorite Recipes of Famous Men" - Beef Stew Robinson

Date I made this recipe: December 1, 2007

Kings in the Kitchen- Favorite Recipes of Famous Men Collected by Gertrude Booth
Published by: A. S. Barnes and Company, Inc.
© 1961
Recipe: Beef Stew Robinson – p. 98-99

As I’ve mentioned before, I often buy cookbooks because of the cover but this cover was boring by comparison to some of my favorites. But what wasn’t boring was the list of the famous men who contributed recipes: Victor Borge, Walt Disney, Alfred Hitchcock, John F. Kennedy and Ed Sullivan, just to name a few.

As to the recipe, it was a toss up between a short rib recipe submitted by Gregory Peck, the original Atticus Finch in the movie To Kill a Mockingbird (the movie that makes me cry every single time), and Beef Stew Robinson, submitted by fellow actor, Edward G. Robinson. So what tipped it to the stew? Well, it was the fact that halfway through the recipe, there was a directive to add 2 cups yellow vegetables and 1 ½ cup green vegetable. That was it—no other directions given.

Now, doesn’t that just sound like something a man would write? I just hooted. Why bother naming names when a color will do nicely? So for yellow we went with corn and for green we went with peas. And all was well with the world.

Although I and my generation are somewhat familiar with the name Edward G. Robinson, I’d be hard-pressed to tell you what movies he starred in. So I Googled his name and looked through the list of movies and recognized a couple: Double Indemnity (1944), Key Largo (1948), and Soylent Green (1973). One of the movies he was in had a title I though was hilarious (although I’ve never seen it) - I Am the Law. I know a few attorneys who have that mindset, let me tell you!

This is a very simple yet hearty recipe and as long as you don’t get too hung up on what constitutes a yellow or green vegetable, you’ll be fine.

Beef Stew Robinson – serves 6 to 8
2 lbs. beef cubed
¼ cup flour
¼ cup olive oil
3 fresh tomatoes
1 ½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
4 medium-sized potatoes
3 small white onions
2 cups yellow vegetables
1 ½ cups green vegetables
Dash of cloves

Shake cubed meat in a bag with flour, pepper, salt and cloves. Brown in heavy pan in olive oil, then add tomatoes and 1 cup water. (Note: he didn’t say what to do with the tomatoes so I cut them into chunks and threw them in). Lower heat, cover, and cook slowly 1 ½ hours. Skim off fat, and add cubed potatoes, onions (I chopped mine), and yellow vegetables. (I used thawed frozen corn) Cook for 20 minutes. Add green vegetables (thawed frozen peas) and cook 15 minutes more.

Veal, lamb, chicken or other desired meat may be substituted for beef.

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