When my friend Rick was here visiting from Chicago, we ate. And we talked about food. We tried new restaurants. And finally, we cooked together.

On a fun evening that included  two new friends as well as our visiting son and his girlfriend, we prepared one of Rick’s new specialities. I ate the leftovers – quite happily – for a week, even for breakfast a few days. This week, as I considered what to make for the last-hurrah of our marriage class, I knew what to do. And as I prepared it, I marveled at how easy it is and how this will become my “go to” meal for guests. It is simple, elegant, hearty, and delicious ~

Tarragon Beef Stew

adapted from AllRecipes.com


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound beef stew meat
  • 4 cups chicken broth (I substituted Beef Consomme in a pinch)
  • 2 cups water (use your judgement here)
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet vermouth
    (this & the Worcestershire are the whole shebang here for me.
  • 2 cups new potatoes
  • 2 large carrots, quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  1. Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the beef stew meat, and fry for 2 to 3 minutes, or until evenly browned on the outside.
  2. Pour the chicken broth, water, and vermouth into the stock pot. Add the potatoes, carrots, and garlic. Season with tarragon, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, honey, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Cook 2 1/2 hours to blend the flavors. Alternatively, let this simmer all the live long day in your slow cooker.
  3. Remove cover and continue cooking 20 minutes, or long enough to evaporate enough liquid to reach your desired thickness.

We served this alongside biscuits, homemade/warm applesauce, and white cheddar macaroni and cheese. It was a pretty wonderful combination.

Go ahead…throw it together and invite someone to share it!