Aldi’s Recipe Review: Beef Ragout

Ok, it really was beef stew, but ragout sounds a lot fancier.

It appears that Aldi’s fresh meat is “treated” or “injected” with some sort of “flavor-enhancing solution” that has lots of di-meth and di-ex and other chemicals that start with the prefix “di.” I’m very unhappy about this, since it means I’m unlikely to buy any more fresh meat at Aldi – and that really sucks because it is so fucking cheap.

I didn’t notice this unhappy meat situation in the store because I was so over-stimulated by my first Aldi’s experience. I’m easily over-stimulated in retail settings – my friend Gina once took me to Linens ‘N Things. That was five years ago. She has never shopped with me again. I mean it. She won’t enter a convenience store with me.

Anyway, despite my extreme displeasure about this jacked-up meat, I’d be more displeased to let food go to waste, so we decided to go ahead and eat the meat we purchased.

Here are the ingredients we used.

  • Adli “All Hopped Up On Goofballs” beef stew meat, about one pound. (This was like $2. Seriously. So sad.)
  • 3 T butter, courtesy of our friends at Roundy's.
  • 2 T Aldi “Carlini” Extra Virgin Olive Oil – I’ve had better olive oil, but if you’re cooking with it (as opposed to using it on salad or something) who gives a shit? “Carlini” olive oil is a blend and comes by way of the Spanish, Italians, and those wacky Greeks.
  • Four large Aldi russet potatoes, sliced. It’s a fine potato. I can’t think of anything funny to say about potatoes.
  • Four whole Aldi "Freshire Farms" carrots – not those bullshit ground-down “baby” carrots, either. Four macho carrots, sliced into coins.
  • One package Aldi mushrooms, sliced (I thought these looked better than Pick N Save mushrooms).
  • Three cloves garlic, minced.
  • No onions. In case you don’t know, our 13-year marriage is grounded on a solid foundation of onion hatred. You will never see an onion-related review on Summary Judgments.
  • 1/4 to 1/3 C Aldi “Morning Gold” baking mix – a Bisquick equivalent.
  • Approximately 2/3 C of red wine – from our refrigerator. It’s been there since New Year’s Eve. Maybe Thanksgiving.
  • Two 8 oz cans Aldi "Chef's Cupboard" beef broth.
  • 1/4 t Mace, from our pantry. Mace is a seriously underutilized spice. It is named after a medieval weapon after all, but it’s actually very nice in soups, stews, and egg dishes.
  • 1/4 t Allspice, also from our pantry. Clearly, Allspice has a brand manager. “Hey, which spice should we use? Well, looky here, it’s ALL-spice! That should do the trick!”
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Chopped parsley and paprika. Parsley and paprika make anything look better, particularly if your dish is suffering from pastiness or grayness.

I doubt anyone reading this is using it as an actual recipe, but if you want to know how to make it:

  • Brown the meat, mushrooms, and garlic in the butter and oil until browned and a bit crusty. (That crusty stuff on the bottom of the pan is called fond and it’s an excellent word to use in Scrabble because another player will almost always challenge it -- and nothing is better than a kicking a smug challenger’s ass when playing Scrabble.)
  • Add the flour and stir until smooth.
  • Add the wine and broth, stir until flour is fully integrated (no lumps).
  • Toss the rest of the shit in – simmer for an hour or so.
  • “Adjust the seasoning” as they say so often in my 1965 edition of The Joy of Cooking. (This edition also tells you how to dress and cook muskrat, raccoon, and bear meat. Just let me know if you want me to scan the recipes for you.)
  • Top with parsley and paprika.

Overall, the stew, er, ragout, was delish. The meat was tender, but how could it not be, as “injected” and “flavor-enhanced” as it was? I couldn’t really determine any difference in taste compared to untreated meat, but it’s the thought that counts. Overall, this recipe was as good as the something made with ingredients from swankier stores – you know, stores with bags and non-deposit carts, and without the underpants and jogging shorts for sale.

So in summary: Hopped up meat = serious bummer; all other Aldi products = cheap and serviceable; kick some Scrabble ass with fond; and let’s all try to show Mace a little more love.


Chetter said...

Ahh!! It's been too long since there has been update!

Anne Quimby Mathias said...

I know, I know, I'm sorry -- I'll blame the kids for my lack of posting.

My friend Gina and I are working on a review of Chococat Cola Flavored gum, so keep checking!

James Wigderson said...

I keep trying to spray the Mace into the teaspoon but it keeps splashing on me. This stuff stings and burns my eyes worse than raw onions. Not to mention it's illegal in most states.

Can I substitute onion powder instead?

Anonymous said...

non quixote says;

Dear Anne, the best and most entertaining family life stories that I have ever read. As the 56 year-old single father of a twelve-year-old daughter, your straight forward honesty is as refreshing as anything that I have seen published anywhere.

I have no qualms in stating that Summary Judgments should win a Pulitzer. Looking forward to your next piece but fully understand the demands of parenthood and possibly reading such when your tykes are in their teens. Priorities, priorties.

Anonymous said...

I've been looking at the same bowl of stew for months now...Has no one eaten since April? Should I start to worry?


Anne Quimby Mathias said...

I know, I know...I have a whole list of things to talk about, too!

It's too bad that I have to do the kind of writing that pays the bills right now. I'll really try to start up again soon.

Thanks for the encouragement everyone!

Anonymous said...

OK...But, I never buy anything at Trader Joe's (except the 3 buck chuck) until I check here...Glad luck with the paying writing...


Anonymous said...

I stumbled on to your blog by googling Alsi's..
Best laugh i have had in a while, your on my favs for sure!

(hopped up on goofballs meat)
Too fucking funny!!!!