So what! Who cares!

18 Mar

I learned this week that you really should follow the recipe rule.  What’s the recipe rule, you say?  Well, there’s this old adage that you should follow a recipe exactly as it is written the first time you make it.  Don’t haphazardly add things.  Don’t get too creative.  You want to see if you can make the recipe correctly.  You want to make what they’re trying to get you to make.  I didn’t do that.  The results weren’t terrible.  They weren’t even bad, but I didn’t make what I was supposed to be making.

I love soups, stews and chilli.  I can’t get enough of ’em.  I enjoy the way you basically throw a bunch of things into a pot and then eat them a few minutes later.  It’s fun, messy and delicious.  I found a Minestrone recipe that I wanted to try.  I’ll give you the recipe and then tell you how NOT to make it.


1.5 lbs of lean stew beef, cut into bite-size cubes

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped

2 quarts beef stock

1 cup spaghetti sauce

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 14 oz can beans, drained, rinsed

1 28 oz can tomatoes, undrained

1 tbsp dried mixed Italian herbs

1 bay leaf

2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

1 cup elbow macaroni

Tabasco, salt, and pepper to taste


In an 8 quart or larger Dutch oven, sear the meat in oil over high heat until very brown.  Remove beef from pan; pour iff excess fat and oil.  Add onions, carrots and celery and cook until tender, stirring around the bottom and edges of the pan.  Add the stock, browned meat, spaghetti sauce, garlic, beans, tomatoes, herbs, and a few grinds of fresh pepper.  Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat to a simmer for about two hours.  Stir occasionally.  Add more water if needed during cooking.  Add the vegetables and the macaroni and cook another half hour.  Check the seasonings, salt, pepper and spice it up to your liking.

Now…this is a really simple recipe.  There’s not a lot of work involved here, right?  Right!  What did I do?  For starters I’m not in love with red meat.  I try to avoid it when I can.  I fried some ground turkey and used that instead.  I also substituted chicken broth for beef.  These things didn’t hurt the recipe.  I mean, I guess it’s weird that I used two different birds but I that didn’t bother me as much as the idea of using turkey meat in beef broth.  There should be a Kosher law about that.  Maybe there is and I’m being a huge jackass.  Whatever.  It sounds gross.  Through…it’s probably delicious.  The broth is where it all began.  The recipe calls for 2 quarts of broth.  I couldn’t figure out from the broth available to me at the store how much 2 quarts would be.  I know.  I’m ridiculous.  I just got the biggest size I could find after doing math in my head and said to hell with it.  It’d be close enough.  I was 2 cups short.  This didn’t bother me at the time.  Ha!  Then?  Then I looked at my bag of macaroni noodles.  When was I ever going to use all this pasta?  Never.  So?  Instead of the ONE CUP of pasta?  I threw in the whole bag.  It’s like 10 cups of pasta.  Two seconds later?  Almost all of the liquid was gone.  Why?  the pasta had soaked it all up.  I was staring at a bowl of what I’ll now call Italian Chilli.  It’s delicious.  We’ve been eating it all week, but it could have been better.

Always follow a recipe as written the first time you’re making it.  Well, I kinda believe that.  At least I learned something.  Do whatever you want.  So what!  Who cares!

Shabbat Shalom!

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