Monday, May 25, 2009

"The Split-Level Cookbook" - Tarragon-Flavored Beef

Date I made this recipe: May 24, 2009

The Split-Level Cookbook – family meals to cook once and serve twice by LouAnn Gaeddert
Published by: Thomas Y. Crowell Company
© 1967
Recipe: Tarragon-Flavored Beef - 20

So Monday, May 18, was my husband and my 18th wedding anniversary and I intended to make something French to celebrate our honeymoon in France, Switzerland and Italy. But at the last minute, we decided to go see comedienne, Paula Poundstone, in “concert” at our local Guthrie Theater. We ate at a nearby Japanese restaurant (couldn’t be further from French food if it tried) and then went to her hilarious 3.5 hour performance. It was worth every pound…I mean penny!

Still, I pulled out a couple of French cookbooks and hemmed and hawed and had almost decided on some recipes when Memorial Day was upon us and my husband announced that he wanted burgers at some point over the weekend. Back went the French books and out came the BBQ tomes.

But I still felt as if I should salute the French in some way, shape or form and I got my chance, believe it or not, via The Split-Level Cookbook.

I know, I know. What the heck does France have to do with split-level homes?

Okay—stay with me on this: there was an article in the Homes section of my local paper, the StarTribune about….drum roll…split level homes. This prompted me to locate my recently purchased The Split-Level Cookbook. (Can you believe it? What are the odds that I’d had a split-level [home] cookbook?) One of the recipes in there was Bouef Bourguignon but seeing as how I made Julia Child’s recipe for last year’s anniversary dinner, I did not want to disparage that memory by making a lesser quality recipe and so I turned the page et voila there was a recipe for Tarragon-Flavored Beef. (The universe was in my corner this day!).

Now tarragon is very much associated with French cooking but I’m not a major fan. Still, I don’t hate it enough to pass it by and after vacillating over a couple other recipes (while carrying my book through the grocery store and trying to call my husband to no avail to get a read on a few other contenders), I finally committed and here we are. This recipe was good and tasty – bon appetite!

Tarragon-Flavored Beef - no serving size listed
2 pounds boneless chuck, cut in 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 tablespoon sugar
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons dried tarragon leaves
1 onion, chopped
¼ cup wine vinegar
1 cup consommé or bouillon
4-ounce can sliced mushrooms, undrained
8-ounce can tiny white onion, drained

Dredge the meat in flour and brown in the oil. When the meat is well browned on all sides, add other ingredients except the mushrooms and [tiny white] onions. Cover and simmer slowly for about 2 hours, or until meat is tender. Add more bouillon if necessary. Add the mushrooms and onions and simmer 10 minutes more. Remove the garlic.

Serve with noodles. (Note: the author instructed that you can also put the noodles in a shallow casserole and pour the beef over it, then cover with foil and bake in a 350 oven for 20-30 minutes.)

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