Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe: The Occasional Recipe: Beef Stew (variations on a theme)

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Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe

The Occasional Recipe: Beef Stew (variations on a theme)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Remember that scene in the movie “Sabrina”--the old, original version--where Audrey Hepburn, newly arrived home after studying in Paris at the Cordon Bleu, whips up an amazing meal for Humphrey Bogart from what seems like a tin of anchovies, some ice cubes and a lemon? That’s never going to be me. I am not the kind of creative cook who goes fearlessly into the kitchen and throws unlikely ingredients together and comes out with something wonderful. BUT, I am a collector of recipes that are easy and rarely fail to delight.

Now, a number of you, I know, have tried the country stew recipe I’ve posted before. It’s yummy and warming in cold weather and has one of those favorable effort-to-deliciousness ratios I look for. So, as I said, I'm not a very creative cook, but I was thinking maybe you could vary the flavors in that stew. Maybe instead of those tomato-y ingredients with those lively top notes, why not something with deeper, more umami tones. So I followed the recipe’s proportions, liquids, solids, etc. and used red wine, onions, garlic, and mushrooms and I was amazed to find that it worked. It was delicious. And I’m thinking a carbonnade flamande type thing--garlic, onions, beer--would work, too.

So, not a real recipe here other than the original, but a little nudge toward using your own creativity with this as an easy and forgiving template. Pick your own favorite tastes and let me know how it goes.

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