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After we got married, I started to develop my cooking skills not only to impress my husband, but also so we wouldn't die of Hamburger Helper poisoning. I was very newly married, in a new town, new state, trying to make new friends, dealing with my parents and my new in-laws, who were upset that we had eloped. We had thought we were saving everyone the hassle of traveling to an out-of-state wedding. Besides, I had never liked being the center of attention, so the idea of a wedding with EVERYONE that our families knew didn't hold any appeal for me. Little did I know that the wedding is more for the family than for the bride and groom. They were ticked. But, 16 years later, they've gotten over it -- mostly. Anyway, we were living in a one-bedroom apartment which my husband had rented several months prior, when he had moved from Pennsylvania to Indiana for his first job after college. We had just purchased a car for me to drive: a 1976 Camaro for $800, so you can imagine the condition. It was metallic powder blue -- and rust. Still it was fun to drive, and it was the closest I ever came to being mistaken for someone who was cool. Anyways, I knew how to cook, but having been a student at a college where cooking in your dormitory room was punishible by death, I hadn't done a lot of cooking for several years, except for weekends at home. Our kitchen was still a "bachelor's kitchen" though admittedly it was better stocked than I've seen in the homes of some people who have been married for years. This was made with staple ingredients and cooking equipment that my husband already had on hand. According to my memory banks, which are spotty at best, this was my first completely original recipe. With this "Early Marriage" recipe, you can take the cheapest, toughest cut of beef you can find, and make it tender, rich, and scrumptious. I can remember making this with chuck roast that I bought for 88 cents per pound, but that was 1986. Ah, memories.
- 2 -3 lbs beef roast, any cheap cut
- olive oil
- 2 onions, sliced
- 1⁄2 teaspoon whole rosemary
- 1⁄2 teaspoon basil leaves
- 1 can condensed tomato soup
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
- 1⁄4 cup dry vermouth (can leave out but it's just not the same)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon paprika
- 2 bay leaves
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cracked peppercorn
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Cut meat into serving-sized pieces.
- If it's a very thick cut of meat, you may want to cut it thinner, so it will get tender more quickly.
- Place a heavy-bottomed dutch oven or deep skillet on the stove over medium heat.
- Quickly brown the meat on all sides and remove from pan.
- Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil until limp, then drain fat from pan.
- Add the remaining ingredients, stirring until well combined.
- Return the meat to the pan, bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover and simmer for about 2 hours, or until the meat is falling-apart-tender.
- Serve this with rice, noodles, or mashed potatoes to provide a nest for the sauce.
- Warning: your family may fight over the sauce!
- If so, just double the sauce ingredients next time, using the same amount of meat.