2011/11/17

A wise man once told me... (FFwD: Braised Cardamom Beef)

This week, I succumbed to the advice of the great philosopher, Kenny Rogers...

"You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away, know when to run."


I first studied at the school of Rogeronian philosophy as a young child - a very young child. 

Back in the days of cassette tapes, my sister had copied a series of Kenny Rogers & Roger Whittaker songs onto a tape for my father.  I remember that white cassette tape - I also remember spending many hours listening to that tape sitting in the back seat of whatever car my father drove at the time. 

By the age of seven, I could quote the words to The Gambler by heart - 30 years later I can still pretty much sing along to it word for word.  I am not sure I should be admitting that... 


Anyhoo - there is a point lurking around here somewhere.

Ah, yes - knowing when to fold 'em. 


This week's selection was a beautiful lamb stew. 

Problem - no one in the house likes lamb.  I tried, I really tried to make them love it. For Easter, I cooked up a beautiful hunk of lamb in an herb crust.  It just wasn't meant to be. 

So, I embraced the wisdom espoused by Rogeronian philosophy and walked away from the lamb and straight toward a shoulder of beef. I am sure Kenny would have approved.


This is a decision I wrestled with.  I am somewhat of a rule follower.  In my wacky sense of thinking, it is okay to change out the supplementary ingredients; but changing out the main ingredient seems like total and complete insubordination.  My momma just didn't raise me that way.

However, I am also a very practical person and totally not willing to take out a 2nd mortgage on a chunk of meat that no one would eat.  The beef won. 

At this point, it was "in for a penny -  in for a pound", so I left out the curry and used a mixture of coriander, cardamom and cayenne for the seasonings (this was mostly to avoid the cumin in the curry powder). And the potatoes were traded out for carrots & parsnips.  And I threw in some baby peas for the "green factor" (they looked pretty - it was purely a superficial decision).


To add to my agony, The Dude was giving me the poo poo face: "I don't eat stew". The voice inside my head said: "well, you are tonight".  Actually, it might not have just been the voice inside my head that said that.  Sometimes, I don't keep those kinds of things to myself - sometimes you just have to be a little spunky. Things aren't always pretty in the house of Cher.  Have to keep those survival skills honed.

At the end of the day, all worked out well. Even The Dude of "no stew" fame declared it to be good - with the caveat that I couldn't tell his mother that he ate stew and liked it. (I am thinking some serious back-tracking would have to occur if word got out).

Now that I have chronicled this journey, I can stop looking around the corner waiting for the "rules police" to come get me.  It's not easy being paranoid...


This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie. Stop on by and check out the rest of the crew's cold weather creations.

To everyone celebrating Thanksgiving next week - have a wonderful holiday!

27 comments:

  1. HA! Well, you certainly made the recipe your own. I think Dorie would approve. Glad it all turned out well in the end. I should go check on mine. It's simmering now. Just realized I forgot about for a half hour longer than I'm supposed to. Tee hee.

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  2. Haha, I love that song and know its lyrics by heart too! Well, I certainly love the addition of green peas on this and if the Rules Police are out looking for beef substituters, then they're probably looking for me as well :).

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  3. For a minute there, I thought you were about to poo-poo the beef sub that I had mentioned (I think) would probably work. Whew - I would've felt awful! But someday, if circumstances ever permit, you should try it with the lamb - it's really good!

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  4. @SoupAddict - I could never poo poo an idea related to stew from the Goddess of Soup... That would not be very smart of me!

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  5. I was wondering how many would be over in Camp Lamb with me this week - not many I guess ;) I was thinking this would work beautifully with beef or chicken!

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  6. I love Kenny Rogers! And I love love love that song!
    Your stew looks great!
    Hey, at least you made it, I totally wimped out!

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  7. I think that beef would be good here too. It looks delish!

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  8. Ah Kenny, words of wisdom to live by. I think you made the right decision. Nothing worse than wasted food. And nothing better than getting the husband to eat something he didn't think he would like!

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  9. Ha, well if the rules police haven't gotten me yet I think you are safe! A lovely beef stew!!

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  10. We also eat the dish with peas as side dish. The sweetness of the peas really completed the recipe. Great it worked out for you. Have a nice weekend.

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  11. I have to say, your dish looks beautiful. Happy that it turned out in the end. And of course, great post as always.

    BTW, I met KR in Sedona AZ at the Racquet Club where he played tennis every day while filming Gambler 2 (talk about dating myself!). Very, very nice man - surely someone whose wisdom you can trust!

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  12. Now that's the good kind of dabbling (with the recipe) you got going this week! Thanks for the suggestion to use beef shoulder and I'm so glad to see yours worked out so well.

    Oh and your "No Stew" Dude? I have a "No Guacamole" Guy in my life too! (of course I made him eat guacamole).

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  13. Cher, I could have written the exact same post...right down to the Kenny Rogers philosophy. No one likes lamb here and when I checked out the price, I just couldn't do it. So I bought beef too. Alas, the beef stew is now going to be made into beef bourginon in a few days and I just ended up skipping this week. So glad you trudged ahead and made such a lovely stew.

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  14. Beautiful! I'm behind and still need to cook this one...I've been considering beef also...you've convinced me. About 20 years ago Hubby won tickets to see Kenny Rogers and took me for our anniversary. Probably would not have gone except for the free tics, but ended up loving the concert and still have fond memories of our special date. I know the words by heart too...FUN!

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  15. I can totally see how this recipe would work with beef! Way to go making it your own! And the fact that The Dude dug it, well that's a great win!

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  16. Love how you came up with a whole new dish inspired by Dorie's. Yours sound delicious. And I think Dorie would approve that you turned this isnto something your family would enjoy. Myself, I tweaked the vegetables for a similar reason.

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  17. Cher....beef or lamb this recipe is delicious. I am sure Dorie will approved of it :) Will be joining again next Friday :) had a bad sore throat so gave this deliciousness a miss :( Have a great weekend !

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  18. You make me laugh with your witty posts :) I love how the dish turned out. I am a huge fan of lamb, but really... it is so expensive. And it looks like it turned out beautifully with beef.

    Maria @ A Platter of Figs

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  19. And wise words they were! You should always know when to hold them, it will save you much aggravation! Your dish looks lovely even if it were made with beef! My husband had some minor surgery yesterday so I had to pass on this one. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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  20. I think I could probably sing along with you on every song on that cassette tape, Cher. :) I like to follow recipes as much as possible the first time I make them as well, but when it is something no one likes it just doesn't make sense AND when it is expensive to boot! I bet it tasted so good with parsnips and I am a sucker for those petite frozen peas, so I added them. I am glad everyone enjoyed the meal - including The Dude. YEAH!

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  21. how clever! Love your peas in it!! I wrestled with the idea of putting peas in mine but decided against it at the last minute... I have a hard time breaking the "rules" also for a group like this. Feels like cheating *wink* ... :)

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  22. I'm in good company this week! I also couldn't fork over a ton of $$ on lamb and then have nobody eat it. And way to get the Dude to enjoy stew...I'll never tell :)

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  23. These dishes are MADE to be tinkered with and subbed. I think this looks great and who can EVER argue with beef?

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  24. I agree with Trevor, you've got to tinker with these recipes from time to time. At the very least, for our reading pleasure! I think pork would be a great substitution in this recipe, but the beef sounds great with your tweaks and changes.

    By the way, you are not the only one who memorized a lot of Kenny Rogers and Roger Whittaker way back when - they were both turntable favourites of my Dad.

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  25. I must confess to having memorized the words to The Gambler as a child too. It was one of the first tapes I bought for myself. Your changes sound delicious. Sometimes being practical is the way to go.

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  26. I'm glad I'm not the only one who went with beef. I thought it worked out really well. I'm a fan of changing things up every once in a while!

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  27. D laughs when I sing along to "The Gambler" - my mom was the Rogers fan in our house. (I have spent a Christmas or two listening to the KR Christmas special, just an FYI.) Funny, I skipped the potatoes and added parsnips too. I think beef is totally acceptable in this dish, and in some was, though lamb is wonderful, I think beef might have worked better with the flavors. May have to test it out, but not for D. I have pretty much the same rule, at least with the Dorie nights, if I'm cooking its what you are eating - but he always has the backup of rotisserie chicken from the store, or hotdogs in the freezer. LOL. The rest of the time I do pretty much avoid his hated dishes, otherwise I'm eating it for lunch 5 days in a row, as I did with the lamb.

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