The Slow-Cooked Sentence

Soup in a boot

Rachael Conlin Levy
“Boots” courtesy of saracino.

Reno was once a cowboy’s town where even the lawyers wore boots. Where the brush was once so thick a rabbit had to climb a tree to look out, now stand rows of houses, and this month’s cattle drive through town was made up of a bunch of buckaroos who probably wouldn’t have enough trail sense to spit downwind. Most of them paid $1,600 to participate in the Reno Rodeo‘s annual publicity stunt. I hope they heard some colorful cowboy talk and ate a tasty stew.

“Cowboy Slang”
By Edgar R. Potter

Hard up: His boots were so frazzled he couldn’t scratch a match without burnin’ his feet.

Crazy: As crazy as popcorn on a hot skillet.

Fast gal: Must think her butt is a gold mine since everybody’s a diggin’ at it.

Lazy: Quit spittin’ on the handle an’ get to work.

Hot: Hot ‘nough to sunburn a horned toad.

Talking: His tongue would get a real frolicsome.

Coward: All gurgle an’ no guts.

Braggart: Had callouses from pattin’ his own back.

Women: I don’t like to have my haunches spurred by no drip-nose of a gal.

Grub: To make a sonofabitch stew yuh throw everything in the pot but the hide, horns an’ beller.

In the bowl:

Boeuf bourguignon

Beef stew with red wine
Adapted from Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten

Serves 6 to 8

1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces bacon, chopped
2 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cubed
1 pound carrots, sliced into 1-inch chunks
2 onions, sliced
2 teaspoons garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 cup Cognac or brandy
1 bottle red wine (I used a Malbec)
2 to 2 1/2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 pound frozen pearl onions
1 pound mushrooms, stemmed and thickly sliced

Preheat oven to 250 degrees

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven. Add bacon and cook until browned. Remove. Salt and pepper beef and toss it into the bacon fat. In batches, sear the beef. Remove to the same plate holding the bacon.

Throw the carrots, onions, 1 tablespoon salt and 2 teaspoons pepper into the pan and cook for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat back in the pot. Add the wine and enough broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring the pot to a boil, cover it and put it in the oven for about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours or until meat and veggies are tender. Remove from oven and place on the stove.

Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and flour and stir into the stew. Add onions. Saute mushrooms and add to the stew. Bring to a boil, then lower flame to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle chopped parsley on top.

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