tarragon and beets – can’t be beat!

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recipe: penne with beets, pecans and apricots (click on image for larger view)

tarragon Tarragon. I love tarragon. I’ve been trying and trying to get it established in our garden but so far have had no luck.

But it seems that everyone else in Toronto is perfectly capable of growing tarragon and a friend recently gave me this huge amount from her garden (making hardly a dent in her tarragon)

I used some of that wonderful tarragon in our most recent batch of chicken stock.

I had to make dinner in a hurry last night and decided to make my favourite quick dinner: slop. Slop is different every time. The only constant is onions, some sort of pasta and a vegetable.

In last night’s slop, I using a little of that lovely stock and some of the tarragon. In record time, I made the most wonderful dinner. Did I think to take a photo?? ‘fraid not. But trust me. It looked great and tasted even better.

Here’s what I did:

beet slop
(penne with beets, pecans & apricots)

Sorry no measurements; that’s the nature of slop… you’ll have to wing it.

  • penne
  • olive oil
  • brown mustard seeds
  • dill seeds
  • pecans
  • onion, chopped
  • dried apricots, diced
  • beets, peeled and sliced
  • chicken stock
  • bomba*
  • balsamic caramelized onions**
  • penne
  • splash of cream
  • fresh tarragon
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

  1. Put a large cast iron frying pan over medium heat. Fill a large pot with cold water, cover and put it on another burner set to high heat. (for cooking the penne)
  2. Put olive oil into the pan and scatter dill and mustard seeds. Cook for about a minute.
  3. Add pecans and onions; continue cooking until the onions are soft.
  4. Add dried apricots and beets. Stir to coat with oil.
  5. Add chicken stock and a couple of spoonfuls of bomba and jarred balsamic onions to the beet mixture. Cover pan and lower the heat to simmer.
  6. Add salt to pot of boiling water (it should be boiling by now…) Throw in the penne and cook til al dente.
  7. Just before draining the pasta, add a splash of cream and fresh tarragon to the beet mixture
  8. Drain the penne and toss into the beet mixture
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste.

* Being lazy, we usually buy jars of Alessia bomba. But this eggplant & hot pepper antipasto recipe is very close in taste.

** We were recently given a jar of Barefoot Contessa Balsamic Onions as a present. I’m guessing they are roughly the same as the balsamic onions in Ina Garten’s recipe for Red Lettuce with Balsamic Onions). I really like the balsmaic onions and will likely be making the FoodTV recipe. I’ll confirm that it’s the same when this jar in the fridge is finished. (Remind me.)

In the past, I have favoured using fresh dill in beet slop. But tarragon is better with beets! Way better.

No wait….

Tarragon is best with beets!

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  • You mean that tarragon is not just for bearnaise? With beets? This I’ve got to try!

  • ejm

    That was exactly what we were thinking after trying tarragon with beets, Mats! (All the more reason to get tarragon established in our garden….)

  • Ah, funny. I had the same trouble trying to grow tarragon [back on Cape Cod in the Northeast]. Other herbs thrived, but never the tarragon.

  • MrsBrown

    I seem to be unable to grow dill or tarragon in my herb garden. Sage, oregano and chives are abundant but dill and tarragon? not to be seen. We had a bumper crop of cilantro this year and the parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (make sure you sing that now) are doing very well. Maybe if there were a song about tarragon and dill…

  • ejm

    I can’t tell you how comforting it is to hear that both of you have had difficulty growing tarragon, Karina and MrsBrown. Here, I get looks of pity and hear things like, You can’t grow tarragon?? We have tons of tarragon. We have too much tarragon! Our tarragon is taking over the garden!!

    I’m determined to get it established though!

    (Something ate all our dill this year. I want to think it was Swallowtail butterfly larva but I suspect it was slugs)

  • It’s funny because for years we had difficulty growing tarragon, Elizabeth. It would never take. This year I decided not to plant it and then lo and behold, I notice something growing in one corner of the garden — tarragon!

    I must try it with beets!

  • ejm

    I couldn’t be more envious, Ivonne! Maybe I will have miracle tarragon growing in a corner of our garden next year….

    Do try the tarragon with beets. It’s delicious.