Princeton Cooks… Beef Ragoût

We invited our Princeton colleagues to try their hand at cooking and baking the delicious treats found in Cooking for Crowds: 40th Anniversary Edition by Merry “Corky” White. Here, Deborah Grondahl, Digital Publications Assistant at Princeton University Press, takes on a Beef Ragoût recipe, swapping out flour for a gluten-free friendly alternative. Recipe is below.  Bon Appetit!


 

Beef Ragoût

Deborah Grondahl

in bowls

After reading through the cookbook, Cooking for Crowds–this is the recipe that said “Cook Me”. Maybe it was the peppercorns, maybe it was the orange zest but I needed to make this recipe.  One problem—the recipe calls for flour. I have a gluten-free kitchen. What do I do?  After reading and re-reading the recipe, the flour is used to coat the meat, so substituting with a different type of flour is easy.  I used an all-purpose mix that has potato, garbanzo, tapioca and sorghum flours, but I’m sure you could easily use potato or corn starch.  I went with the all-purpose mix because I thought the bean flavor might lend itself to the complex flavors of the dish.

Making this seems straight forward enough—Prep, Sear, Simmer, Eat. The recipe scales easily to accommodate the crowd you are serving.  Two, is not a crowd, but I like to make extra for lunch the next day or another diner and the recipe does say its better the next day.

Prep:

I love using fresh herbs, but often don’t have them on hand. I had planned to make this so I had the thyme. Finely chopped

thyme

Half-moons of Onions—sounds so fancy

Orange zest.  This is what drew me to this recipe, strips of orange zest.

orange peel

Sear:

onions in pot

Okay, so this isn’t a picture of the meat being seared.  It’s the after picture with those fancy half-moons of onions.

Simmer:

in pot

A pot of promise.  The recipe says you can use either beef stock or red wine or both. I used stock, because I didn’t have wine. After you put everything in the pot, the recipe says to cover with additional liquid (not mentioned in the ingredients). Luckily I had additional stock on hand and there was no issue.

Eat:

Sserved over rice:

in bowls

 


 

Beef Ragoût

After watching me try several recipes for beef stew, my daughter developed this one, which is especially good because of the added orange peel. Use only the orange part: do not use white of peel as it is very bitter when cooked.

  6 12 20 50
butter 2 tbs 4 tbs 7 tbs 1 c
cooking oil 1 tbs 2 tbs 3 tbs 8 tbs
stewing beef, preferably chuck,cut into ½ -inch chunks 1½ lbs 3 lbs 6 lbs 12 lbs
medium onions, sliced 2 4 7 16
all-purpose flour 2 tbs 4 tbs 7 tbs 1 c
dry, red wine 1 c 2 c 3½ c 7 c
or        
beef stock 1 c 2 c 3½ c 7 c
carrots, peeled and roughly chopped 2 4 7 16
garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 2 4 7
fresh thyme, finely chopped 1 tsp 2 tsp 1 tbs 1½ tbs
or        
dried thyme ½ tsp 1 tsp 1½ tsp 2 tsp
bay leaves 1 2 4 8
tomato paste 1 tbs 2 tbs 3½ tbs 1½6-oz cans
2-inch, thin strips of orange peel 2 4 7 12
peppercorns 6 12 20 40
salt 1 tsp 2 tsp 3½ tsp 2 tbs

Melt the butter and oil together in a large, heavy saucepan. Have a large casserole at hand.

Over medium heat brown the meat, several pieces at a time, and as they are browned, remove them to the casserole. Add the onions to the pan and cook until soft over a medium flame.

Add the flour to the beef and toss to cover well, add the browned onions to the beef. Add the wine or stock, and bring to a simmer, stirring. Then add the carrots and the remaining ingredients. Add extra stock, wine, or water to cover all the ingredients.

Reduce the heat to very low, cover, and simmer for about 2 hours, or until the meat is soft to the touch or the fork. Do not let it cook too much or the meat will disintegrate. And watch the liquid, so that it doesn’t boil away. Let the ragoût cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.

Reheat slowly and serve with whipped potatoes, boiled noodles, or rice. Or just crusty French bread and salad.

NOTE: This is 100 percent better the next day, so be sure to make it ahead.


This recipe is taken from:

bookjacket
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Cooking for Crowds
40th Anniversary Edition
Merry White
With a new foreword by Darra Goldstein and a new introduction by the author

“[Merry White's] book, made up of recipes she collected as the caterer for the Harvard Center for European Studies, suggested a new way of entertaining, with self-serve spanakopita, petite shrimp quiche and that savior of the anxious cook, the casserole that can be made a day ahead. Edward Koren’s woolly illustrations set the tone: vegetables are our friends, and food tastes best in groups. Even though pesto and vindaloo are no longer exotic, during the holidays her attitude (and her meatballs) may be what every stressed-out host needs.”–Alexandra Lange, New York Times

Warm up with Lentil Soup with Mettwurst from Cooking for Crowds

Plummeting temperatures means hot soup for dinner, so I wanted to share this delicious recipe for Lentil Soup with Mettwurst from Cooking for Crowds: 40th Anniversary Edition by Merry White. The image is taken directly from the book so you can see the layout and cute Edward Koren illustration that accompanies the recipe in print, but a text version is below, too, in case you need it.

Also, you might enjoy this interview Merry gave over the winter break.

soup

 

Lentil Soup with Mettwurst

A rich and filling soup, with which you will need only bread, salad, and dessert to make a good lunch or supper. Try it with other sausages or cooking salamis, too. Any uncooked (but smoked) fine-grained sausage may be substituted.

6 12 20 50
dried green lentils 1 c 2 c 3 ½ c 7 c
butter 2 tbs 4 tbs 7 tbs 2 sticks
large onion, finely chopped 1 2 3 ½ 8
celery stalks, finely chopped 1 2 3 8
carrots, peeled and thinly sliced 2 4 7 14
bay leaves 1 2 3 5
thyme Pinch ½ tsp 1 tsp 2 ½ tsp
bouillon, or rich chicken stock 1 qt 2 qts 3 ½ qts 7 qts
mettwurst ½ lb 1 lb 2 lbs 4 lbs
salt & pepper (to taste)

Soak the lentils in water to cover overnight.

The next day, drain the lentils well. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the chopped onion, celery, and carrots, then the bay leaves and thyme. Let simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes. Add the bouillon or stock, lentils, and sausage and cook at a gentle simmer for about 2 hours, or until the lentils are tender.

Remove the sausage and set aside. Put the soup in a blender in small batches and blend until smooth. Leave about one-quarter of the soup unblended and add to the smooth soup for “texture.”

Slice the reserved sausage and add to the soup with salt and pepper to taste.

NOTE: The soup can be reheated, but more stock or water will be needed because lentils thicken as they stand. It can also be kept in a cool place, unrefrigerated.

Merry White Brings “Cooking for Crowds” to Harvard Bookstore

White_CookingForCrowdsF13As the holidays are approaching, some people are looking for that perfect recipe to cook up something delicious to wow all of their friends and family. Merry White, author of Cooking for Crowds, has released the 40th anniversary edition of her book, which includes a new introduction and new illustrations, and will offer her readers the recipes they’ve been searching for.

She will be at the Harvard Book Store on December 5th at 7:00 PM to discuss the book and to sign copies, which will be for sale in the store. Want more information? Click here.


When Cooking for Crowds was first published in 1974, home cooks in America were just waking up to the great foods the rest of the world was eating, from pesto and curries to Ukrainian pork and baklava. Now Merry White’s indispensable classic is back in print for a new generation of readers to savor, and her international recipes are as crowd-pleasing as ever–whether you are hosting a large party numbering in the dozens, or a more intimate gathering of family and friends.

In this delightful cookbook, White shares all the ingenious tricks she learned as a young Harvard graduate student earning her way through school as a caterer to European scholars, heads of state, and cosmopolitans like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. With the help of her friend Julia Child, the cook just down the block in Cambridge, White surmounted unforeseen obstacles and epic-sized crises in the kitchen, along the way developing the surefire strategies described here. All of these recipes can be prepared in your kitchen using ordinary pots, pans, and utensils. For each tantalizing recipe, White gives portions for serving groups of six, twelve, twenty, and fifty.

Looking for something to do with all those fall apples? We recommend Senegalese Soup from Cooking for Crowds

Senegalese Soup

Senegalese soup is a smooth cream of chicken with curry. A classic French adaptation of Oriental tastes, this soup is elegant and smooth, and acceptable as a beginning to any meal.

6 12 20 50

onions, chopped 2 4 7 15
celery stalks, chopped 2 4 6 10
apples, peeled and chopped 2 4 7 10
butter 3 tbs 6 tbs 10 tbs 3 sticks
curry powder 2 tbs 4 tbs 8 tbs ¾ c
all-purpose flour ¼ c ½ c ¾ c 2 c
chicken stock or broth 4 c 8 c 4 qts 8 qts
salt (to taste)
chili powder (to taste)
cayenne (to taste)
heavy cream 2 c 4 c 5½ c 10 c

Garnish
fresh parsley, chopped
or
avocado, peeled and chopped

In a large saucepan (or two kettles) sauté the onions, celery, and apples in the butter until the mixture is soft but not browned. Add the curry powder and sauté for 2 minutes more, then add the flour, stirring well. Cook, stirring, for a minute or so more. Gradually stir in the chicken stock or broth and cook the soup until it thickens. Add the salt, chili powder, and cayenne to taste.

Puree the mixture in a blender or put through a food mill, a few cups at a time, until smooth. Chill the soup, if serving it cold. Just before serving, stir in the cream and garnish each portion with parsley (hot) or avocado (cold).

note: While the soup can be served hot or cold, it is best (and easiest for a crowd) if served cold.


White_CookingForCrowdsF13This recipe is taken from Cooking for Crowds by Merry “Corky” White. We are publishing a 40th edition of this classic cookbook in December.