Tarragon – Weird & Tasty

I love the word tarragon. If I ever have a pet it’s gonna be called after this wacky herb. What I also love about it is the description given on many cookery blogs: ‘tarragon tastes like a cross between liquorice/aniseed and vanilla’. Often, this is followed by a clear warning: ‘use sparingly’. Until recently, I had only come across tarragon at work in its bland freeze-dried form in which it strongly resembles woodruff flavour (in case you know what woodruff taste like – i just happen to come from a woodruff crazy family). I found out that it tastes great in salad dressings. So until last week, exploration of tarragon in its fresh state was hampered by a lack of tarragon in the reduced to clear pile and the thought ‘how am I going to use ALL of that?!’.

Then the opportunity presented itself to make a big vegetable casserole. On the market I found some good peppers, so I thought: wait a moment – can’t I use the elusive tarragon in this….? And so I bought some. Back home, I skimmed the weird world web for vegetarian recipes using tarragon. I did not exactly have a high turnout. Some recipes even warned (!) of using tarragon other than with certain French meat or salad recipes. How odd I thought. I decided to start experimenting ‘tout de suite’ to remedy this situation. And I have to say, my Tarragon Hot Pot was the best casserole I’ve ever made! What did I put in it? Lots of boring old stuff really, but somehow it got magically transformed into great tastiness… 😉

Oil
Onions
Garlic
Lots and lots of red peppers plus one green, one yellow pepper
Other vegetables, e.g. carrots, courgettes, mushrooms
A tin of borlotti beans (I think)
Tomato puree, tin tomatoes
Veggie mince
Salt, pepper
bayleaves, juniper berries
A bit of chilli
Lots of fresh tarragon!

I made the casserole the night before, so that the flavour can unfold. The next day I added more tarragon, heated the whole thing gently and served it with buttered brown pilau rice and some sort of eastern style coleslaw. It was very a very intense flavour experience!

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