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Memorable Meals
Carole Kotkin

It's always a challenge to prepare memorable meals that don't make unreasonable demands on your time. That's why stews and casseroles have such appeal--they can be made in advance (even frozen) and reheated or quickly finished just before Sunday supper, and you can serve from your casserole so there's just one pot to scrub. Plus the house is filled with tantalizing aromas of good, home-cooked food.

Originally, the word casserole referred only to the utensil in which the food was cooked, a deep, round ovenproof dish with a lid and two handles. When we speak of a casserole today we mean not only the dish but the food cooked in it. A stew is any dish prepared by cooking food in a liquid at a low steady heat for a long period of time in a tightly covered pot (very often a casserole dish). Stewing not only tenderizes tough cuts of meat, but the long cooking time allows the flavors to blend. And if you prepare the stew or casserole ahead of time, the combined ingredients have time to mellow and develop well-balanced, full-bodied flavors.

Boeuf Bourguignon, is classic down-home cooking, French style. Despite its fancy name, it's basically a hearty beef stew in a rich wine sauce made with small mushrooms and browned onions. As its name suggests, it is cooked in the style of Burgundy the great gastronomical region of France where wine was made even before Roman times. It's the kind of robust simple food that is equally appropriate for family or guests. While the stew slowly simmers, prepare a special treat of warm brownies. Be sure to have some crusty bread on hand to sop up the sauce.

Featured Recipes:

> Boeuf Bourguignon

> New Potatoes with Parsley

> Warm Chocolate Cups

By Carole Kotkin, co-author of MMMMiami--Tempting Tropical Tastes for Home Cooks Everywhere

You can buy the book from our affiliate, Barnes and Noble, online!

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