When every meal together is a special time of thanksgiving – three simple recipes

– North Carolina writer Derek Maul

It has been a while since I wrote anything under the “Foodie” post label. Not that Rebekah and I have failed to eat with our usual enthusiasm, so much as that I have not had the available time to cook with the necessary level of concentration and creativity.

This week, however, I prepared three dishes that went exceptionally well. An Asian inspired pork dish, my chili – made with steak, and my first effort at beef stroganoff – a recipe I will certainly revisit soon.

The beef stroganoff:

The stroganoff was especially satisfying because Rebekah received it with such enthusiasm. She enjoys all my cooking, but she made a big deal over this one.

– image from “Taste of Home”

I had an extra tender good-sized roast from the weekend, and was wondering what to cook Tuesday when I ran across a simple stroganoff recipe that matched the ingredients I have on hand.

So I sautéed an onion, some celery hearts, and a few Shiitake mushrooms, then added the beef. I made a sauce by melting butter, stirring in some flour, then stirring in sour cream, milk, and beef broth until the sauce started to thicken. My recipe called for adding little paprika, Dijon mustard, salt, Worcestershire sauce, and sharp cheddar cheese.

Meanwhile, I prepared some fresh pasta and broccoli.

Unfortunately, distracted by plating and serving, I forgot to take a photograph, so this image – surprisingly accurate – is stollen from a cooking site.

The chili:

My chili is a hybrid concoction based on the old “Some Like it South” Junior League of Pensacola cookbook.

I make a few changes, the best of which involves substituting tenderloin steak for the ground beef. This time I also – for Rebekah’s sake – left out the peppers.

Everything else is as described in this account – Making the Perfect Chili – posted when I served lunch for the church staff at WFPC.

I recommend a baked potato and a light salad. Bread if you can handle all the extra carbs and calories.

For chili – if you drink beer – a good IPA is always the best choice.

Pork and Rice:

This was my invention entirely. Rice – cooked with celery and raisins – already prepared from a previous meal. Mixed vegetables from the day before. Baby Bella mushrooms in the refrigerator. Lots of roast pork tenderloin ready to enjoy. A quarter cup of black beans with no other plans.

I intended to make a curry, but hadn’t realized I’d run out. So this dish became all about sautéed onion, garlic, and mushrooms; mixing in the rice; adding the black beans; stirring in the vegetables; seasoning with a little soy; then stirring occasionally before adding pork medallions at the last minute (after the photograph was taken).

I toyed with the idea of making this a risotto, but I didn’t have the time to make it work properly.

What makes this dish more of an Asian interpretation of pork and rice was the fact that I sautéed the onions etc. in sesame oil instead of olive, and used a little soy.

So What?

Nothing profound today, other than the fact I feel it is important to prepare every meal with love and make every occasion as special as possible, especially in terms of gratitude.

Thanksgiving is coming up, but we are grateful every day for the privilege of good food, a safe home, and the opportunity to share it all in the context of love.

Peace – DEREK


  1. I’m not sure how big your batch of stroganoff was. IF your batch is for more than one meal, I suggest adding the sour cream to your plate at the table. In my opinion the 2nd portion takes more like fresh cooked by adding the sour cream to your plate. Beef stroganoff has been in my Iowa family since the 70’s.

    Liked by 1 person

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