Soboro Donburi – Gingery Ground Beef and Mushrooms with Fresh English Peas

I am going to Japan soon and have become a bit obsessed with cooking Japanese food lately. My most recent find is this crumbled beef and vegetables over rice dish. Pretty quick and easy to make, and the flavors are really nice how they work together and add quite a bit of depth to this simple dish. It passed the family test, everyone liked it and said I should add it to the cooking rotation, so that is good. This dish is traditionally crumbled chicken or beef or any kind of meat , sometimes with eggs and served over white rice. I made it more healthy by adding mushrooms for some of the beef, and adding kale and fresh english peas. I also used a wild rice and whole grain brown rice blend instead of white rice to boost the nutrition.  I actually came up with the idea for this dish when I was shopping and I came across fresh local english peas, and I thought, what can I make with fresh peas… then I found a Food & Wine recipe that this is based on.

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Soboro Donburi (Gingery Ground Beef and Mushrooms with Fresh English Peas)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Quick and simple Japanese rice bowl with added vegetables to make it lighter and more healthy.

Credit: Soboro Donburi by Food & Wine

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon palm sugar (or whatever you have)
  • 1/4 cup dashi (or beef broth if using beef, chicken broth if using chicken, etc)
  • oil of choice for cooking
  • 3/4 pound lean grass-fed ground beef (or ground chicken)
  • 8 ounces chopped mushrooms (either cremini, shiitake or white button)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh peeled and grated ginger (or jarred)
  • fresh lacinato kale, de-stemmed and sliced thinly
  • 3/4 cup fresh english peas shucked from pod (or frozen if that is all that is available)
  • hot cooked wild and whole grain brown rice
  • chile sauce if desired on the side

Procedure

  1. Mix together the sake (if you don’t have any, just use mirin), mirin, soy sauce, dashi or broth and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Heat a medium skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Add a bit of oil to pan and spread. When oil is hot add the ground meat to the pan and cook through.
  3. Drain grease from cooked meat and then add the chopped mushrooms, ginger and kale to the meat in the pan, cook for a couple of minutes over medium heat. Add the peas and the sake mixture and stir well. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes or until liquid is greatly reduced, but meat is not dry.
  4. Serve in bowls over rice and garnish with chile sauce on the side if desired.

Note: You can make a chile sauce with a mixture of 1 Tablespoon each of Chinese chile sauce, hot water, rice vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves.

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February 22, 2019

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MUSHROOM (AND BEEF) BOLOGNESE

The only one who usually eats pasta in this house is my son, and frankly he can eat enough of it for all of us if I let him! We call him a “pastaterian.”  I came across a Food and Wine recipe entitled Spaghetti with Mushroom Bolognese that I based this recipe on.  I changed several things, most importantly I added ground beef and a little chicken breast sausage to 3/4 of the the recipe to satisfy my son who was craving a meaty Bolognese sauce but still left lots of vegetables in to make it healthier than a traditional almost all beef sauce. I also left 1/4 of it vegetarian to satisfy my daughter. The original recipe also called for eggplant but since I added meat I left out the eggplant.  Overall we all really liked how both the meat and the vegetarian versions tasted.  I noted where you can add the meat or leave it out depending on your preferences.   Note:  The quantities may look large in the pictures because I doubled the recipe so I can serve it again for a kid party in a couple of days. 

Mushroom (and Beef) Bolognese

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
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Vegetarian Bolognese Sauce that can also have lean ground beef and mild chicken breast sausage added to it for a more traditional but vegetable-laden bolognese sauce

Ingredients

  • ½ cup dried porcini mushrooms
  • extra virgin olive oil or oil of choice
  • one small onion, small dice
  • 2 carrots, peeled and small dice
  • 3/4 lb lean grass-fed ground beef –IF it will not be vegetarian.
  • 1/4  lb mild ground chicken breast sausage —Note: This may be hard to find, at Whole Foods they made this up for me, just ask you butcher, or just use plain ground chicken breast or pre-made chicken sausage or lean ground beef. I think spicy chicken sausage would be really good except for my spice phobe… so I used the mild sausage.–IF it will not be vegetarian.
  • 1 lb cremini mushrooms, small dice
  • ½ lb shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps diced
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon mild white miso (this is surprising but turned out to be worthwhile)
  • one 2-inch chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus grated cheese for serving
  • one 14.5 oz can crushed peeled tomatoes (organic or no salt added if possible)
  • one 14.5 oz can chopped peeled tomatoes (organic or no salt added if possible)
  • 3 thyme sprigs (or 1 tablespoon of dried thyme)
  • 1 tablespoon of dried oregano (I probably add more, but I don’t measure)
  • ½ teaspoon sugar (or honey, to cut the tomato acidity)
  • 1 package of fresh tagliatelle pasta (or pasta of your choice)
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil (I think fresh is important here, dried basil really doesn’t taste the same, but do what you can)

Procedure

  1. In a small bowl, cover the porcini mushrooms with 1 cup of boiling water; soak until softened, about 30 minutes. Finely chop the porcini mushrooms, discarding any tough bits. Drain mushrooms, reserving 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid. Chop the mushrooms finely.
  2. In a large pot (I like to use an enameled cast-iron casserole, it cleans up easily) heat 1–2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onion and carrots and cook over moderate heat for about 5 minutes. Add additional oil if needed and then add the ground beef if using, chicken sausage if using, cremini, shiitake and chopped porcini mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is fully cooked, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste and miso and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chunk of cheese, tomatoes and their juices, thyme, oregano, sugar and reserved mushroom soaking liquid, and bring to a simmer.
  3. Halfway cover the pot and cook over low heat so it simmers gently, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is very thick, about 1–1.5 hours. Discard the thyme and oregano sprigs (if using fresh herbs); season the sauce with salt and pepper and more oregano and thyme if needed.
  4. In a pot of boiling water (salt optional), cook the pasta until al dente. Drain
  5. Add the pasta and chopped basil to the sauce; toss to coat. Serve in bowls, topped with grated cheese.

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March 16, 2017

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Onions, carrot and garlic
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onions, carrot, garlic and mushrooms

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ground beef and chicken sausage

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Finished product! yum!

Beef and Vegetable Bourguignon

This is a project, I have to be honest, but well worth it, it came out AMAZING! The beef was so tender and the vegetables were so full of flavor! Last night my husband and I had dinner at Zola, a French bistro here in town. The food was really good, very rich, but in portions that one can handle the richness. My husband and I like sharing our food so we can try more things that way and generally control the large portions that most restaurants dish out. We have been to this restaurant one other time so I knew the portions were normal human sized, so we shared a beet salad, which was delicious, and got a scallop dish and Short Rib Beef Bourguignon. The beef dish was so delicious that my husband requested that we try to recreate it at home. “We,” hah! Anyways, the cooking thing is my new hobby, so I said why not try it.

I made this following a recipe by Melissa Clark on the New York Times Cooking site. I added twice as many vegetables, much less bacon and a pound less beef than the original recipe. I also decided to throw the mushrooms into the stew while it was cooking instead of the traditional method of sautéing the mushrooms with additional onions in butter and adding them when serving. This way I saved some calories (no butter) and an extra step that I won’t miss! If you want it richer, then go ahead with this step. I also added some baby potatoes to the stew, so it can be a complete one pot meal and will hopefully feed us for the next two nights (because now I am tired).

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Beef and Vegetable Bourguignon

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: medium
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Lighter and healthier version of the traditional French Beef Bourguignon with added vegetables

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds beef (beef chuck is most common, but can be very fatty – today I used organic grass-fed chuck eye steak and beef ranch steak), cut into 2-inch cubes and patted dry.
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 strips of applewood smoked bacon, thick cut (or any bacon)
  • 1 large yellow onion, medium dice
  • 3 large carrots, large dice
  • 3 celery stalks, large dice
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, halved or quartered depending on the size (I also had some trumpet mushrooms in my fridge so I threw those in)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tomato, medium dice
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 Tablespoons of all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine, preferably a light young red such as Pinot Noir
  • 1 cup beef stock or low sodium beef broth
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 3 large sprigs of thyme
  • 3 sprigs of parsley
  • 2 cups of mixed color baby potatoes (or large potatoes cut in 2 inch cubes)

Procedure

  1. Season beef with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and set aside for 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
  2. Heat a large dutch oven over medium  heat and cook the bacon until browned and crisp. Remove bacon to a paper-towel line plate and pat off as much grease as you can. Wipe out at least half of the bacon grease left in the pan, leaving a little grease and all the browned bits for flavor.
  3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Raise the heat under the dutch oven to medium-high. When pot is fully heated, add the beef in a single layer in the pot, leaving space between each piece. Cook until well browned on all sides and transferring pieces to a plate as they brown, about 10-15 minutes. Repeat with remaining beef.
  4. Crumble or chop the crisped bacon into a small pieces. Set aside.
  5. Reduce heat to medium to prevent burning and stir in onion, carrot and celery. Add a pinch of salt and a few turns of the pepper grinder and cook until soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes.
  7. Add garlic, tomato and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
  8. Stir in flour, cook for 1 minute and then add wine, stock, bay leaf, thyme and parsley, scraping up browned bits at bottom of the pot.
  9. Add the browned beef and bacon back to the pot, along with two cups of mixed baby potatoes and then cover with tight-fitting lid and transfer to the oven. Let cook in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the beef is very tender.  Occasionally stir the beef mixture while it is cooking in the oven.
  10. When finished cooking taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Fish out the bay leaf, parsley and thyme sprigs and discard. Serve in  individual casserole dishes or in shallow bowls with a sprinkle of fresh parsley. Bon Appétit!

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March 4, 2017

 

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Vegetable, Beef and Farro Soup

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Here in the Bay area it has been cold (by our California standards) and SUPER RAINY so I thought a hearty soup would be nice. I made this soup yesterday and I have to admit it took quite a bit of time but it was really worth it.  The soup was very rich, warm and nutritious (I need to work on adding nutritional stats to my recipes!) and it got a thumbs up from both my husband and son. This is after I made a disastrous meal last night with chicken, vegetables, lemon and herbs that was difficult and laborious and just turned out incredibly BLAND! So disappointing, but that happens. Toss it and watch my husband and son make quesadillas because they were still hungry (no joke- that is what they do when they don’t like dinner or if I really under-fed them).

For this soup I started with a Food and Wine recipe and added more vegetables, a little wine, more herbs and a leaner cut of meat. The recipe called for chicken stock, which I found strange, but followed it anyway, and I regretted it. I think beef stock would match the beef and farro much better. Nevertheless, the soup was still very tasty, I just think the beef broth would be better so I am recommending it for anyone following it. Vegetable broth would also be good (I added some vegetable broth at the end since I cooked it ahead of time and the farro had absorbed quite a bit of the broth). I also think that the beef can be left out completely and with some vegetable broth instead of beef broth it would be a very lovely vegetarian meal as the farro has quite a bit of protein and the soup is full of vegetables. I love the addition of the miso, it gave the soup a lot of extra flavor and excitement!

Vegetable, Beef and Farro Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
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Hearty vegetable and beef soup for a healthy cold evening meal.

Credit: Food and Wine Beef and Farro Soup

Ingredients

  • canola oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef (I used grass-fed flat iron steak), cut into 1 inch pieces.
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 9 cups of beef stock (I used chicken stock, but I think that was not a very good idea, beef stock I think would have tasted much better)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 whole head of garlic, cut off the knobby top that was attached to the plant and pierce in several places with a knife.
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut in thirds
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 leek, light green and white parts only, thinly sliced
  • 3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme (or fresh)
  • 1 cup uncooked farro
  • 1 small bunch of Tuscan kale, chopped (3 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons of white miso
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for garnish

Procedure

  1. Heat a dutch oven on medium-high heat with some canola oil. Season the meat with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, turning, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer meat to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain off the fat and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Pour out any extra oil/grease in the pot and then add the wine and stir, scraping up any browned bits. Add the broth along with the meat, garlic, onion, 2 carrots cut in thirds, fresh thyme and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Meanwhile, arrange the cut tomatoes, leeks, celery and carrots on a lightly greased pan. Sprinkle a little olive oil, freshly ground pepper, salt, dry oregano and dry thyme on the vegetables and roast in the oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned and soft. Set aside the cooked vegetables.
  5. After the soup has cooked for 1 1/2 hours, remove the garlic, thyme sprigs, bay leaves and carrot chunks (I actually like to keep the soft carrots). Stir in the roasted vegetables and the uncooked farro and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes over moderate heat, or until farro is tender. Add the kale, miso and paprika and cook uncovered on low heat for 10 minutes. Add any additional salt and pepper if necessary. Serve in bowls with a garnish of the cheese.
  6. Enjoy and let me know how you like it!

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January 19, 2017

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Adding the fresh thyme
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Slicing the leeks
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Browned beef

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Garlic ready to add to the soup
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Carrots, celery, leeks ad tomatoes
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Getting ready to roast the vegetables
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The roasted vegetables
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The finished soup.

Ginger Sesame Beef Salad with Quinoa

Updated 3/26/17.

What to make for dinner tonight…? Well this popped into my inbox this morning from Food and Wine Magazine, and I thought that this looked like a good candidate. Here is the original recipe: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/skirt-steak-stir-fry-quinoa-and-ginger-sesame-dressing. I added more vegetables and marinated the meat for a few hours, but I otherwise followed the recipe. The dish turned out to be a really nice mix of crunchy vegetables with very tasty, succulent beef. I have to admit that my son found it a bit “strong” so he just picked out and ate the beef chunks and left most of the rest but my husband and I really enjoyed it.

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Grating the ginger.  The minced garlic is on the side.

Ginger Sesame Beef Salad with Quinoa

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Healthy ginger beef and vegetable salad that comes together quickly. Good choice for a healthy weeknight meal.

Credit: Food and Wine 

Ingredients

Marinade:

  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger

  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

Quinoa:

  • 1 cup of un-cooked quinoa

Dressing: 

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

Stir-Fry:

  • 1 tablespoon of dark sesame oil

  • 1 pound skirt steak, cut into small pieces and sliced against the grain (1/4” thick strips)

  • 1 large Portabello mushroom cut into small cubes

  • 2 tablespoons of fresh minced garlic (2 cloves)

  • 1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger

  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

  • 1 head of red leaf lettuce (or lettuce of choice), chopped

  • 2 cups of shredded carrot

  • 2 cups of bean sprouts

  • 2 tablespoons of basil leaves, chiffonaded

Procedure

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of organic rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger and garlic. Add the sliced beef and marinate at least 30 minutes or several hours if possible.
  2. Cook the quinoa without adding salt or oil. I like to use a rice maker. Set the cooked quinoa aside (Can cook this earlier in the day and refrigerate).
  3. In a small bowl whisk the ¼ cup of soy sauce, 1 ½ tablespoons of fresh grated ginger, 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon of lime juice and 2 tablespoons of sesame oil. Set aside.
  4. In a large skillet heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the steak, mushroom, half the shredded carrot and salt and pepper to your taste, and then stir-fry for a few minutes until the steak is cooked to your liking. Remove the steak mixture and add half the bean sprouts and cook for a couple of minutes.
  5. Divide the lettuce between four plates. Top with cooked bean sprouts, meat mixture, uncooked carrots and bean sprouts, cooked quinoa and then the dressing. Garnish with basil.

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

September 29, 2016, updated March 26, 2017

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Stir frying the beef, mushrooms, and carrots
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Finished stir-fry

 

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The quinoa in the rice cooker.
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The finished dish

 

Meatballs

This is an old recipe of mine. I originally started with a Cooking Light recipe (all of my older recipes began with Cooking Light) and modified it over the years. These are baked in the oven to reduce unnecessary calories from frying them in oil and to make the clean-up easier. I began making these when my oldest child was pretty young so she could eat some protein with the pasta (and often peas) that she was deeply into at the time. I don’t make these very often anymore, but I should as my son is currently on a pasta kick and these are much healthier then the frozen Trader Joes meatballs I have been feeding him lately. These are a good source of lean protein and it is a very easy recipe to throw together in a hurry. All of the ingredients except for the ground beef are usually in my kitchen already, so it just takes a quick trip to the store to get the beef. I usually make enough to freeze a bunch so I can warm a few up in the microwave or oven quickly when I need a little protein to quickly put on my son’s plate.

Meatballs

  • Servings: 28 meatballs
  • Difficulty: easy
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Quick, oven-baked, lean meatball recipe that can be served with pasta or on its own as an appetizer.

Credit: The recipe is based on this Cooking Light recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef (I use organic grass-fed 10% fat)
  • 1/4 cup sweet or yellow onion, finely diced (about 1/2 of a small onion or 1/4 of a large onion)
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (low sodium if you can find it)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely shredded
  • 1/4 cup of Panko
  • 1/4 cup low sodium tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional-not sure it adds much)
  • 10 – 15 turns of the black pepper grinder (maybe 1/4 teaspoon?)
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt (or less, I don’t measure this and tend to use less)
  • optional: 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (I have never added this because I have made this mostly for my kids when they were young and not into spicy foods).
  • cooking spray

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine all ingredients into a bowl except for the cooking spray. Mix well (I use my hands, seems the only way I can get all the ingredients well-distributed into the meat).
  3. Shape mixture into 25-30 meatballs (1 1/2″ approx.). Today I got 28 meatballs out of the recipe. Place meatballs on a pan coated with cooking spray and bake at 400 for 12 minutes or until cooked throughout. Serve as an appetizer with toothpicks or with your favorite pasta. Leftovers freeze and reheat well.

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October 2016

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All the ingredients in one bowl!
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Easiest to mix with your hands
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Ready to bake
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Ready to eat!

 

Ground Beef (or Turkey) Tacos

I was torn about whether or not to post this very basic ground beef (or turkey) taco recipe as it is quite mundane, but every night can’t be gourmet and this is a staple in our house, it comes together fairly quickly and is pretty healthy. Once upon a time I made ground beef or turkey tacos using the little McCormick package of seasoning. Then one day I read the ingredients and was horrified at the sodium content and decided getting the spices right on my own can’t be too difficult, so I have been making totally homemade tacos ever since (last 10 years or so). Today I used organic, grass fed, lean (10% fat) ground beef, but I use ground turkey breast just as often, just depends on what we have already eaten that week. We have had a lot of chicken this week (which my son currently doesn’t really care for), so I thought it was time for a little beef to mix things up. I served the tacos with fresh corn cooked in the microwave and sliced off the cob since there is still some decent looking corn at the market that has been grown locally here in Northern CA, I figured we should get it fresh while we still can. I don’t add anything to the corn since it is so fresh and sweet already. I also served some chopped tomatoes, homemade fresh guacamole and sliced bell peppers with the meal. I made mine into a taco salad and my son had his as a soft taco.

Basic Tacos

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Basic and entirely homemade taco recipe that works perfectly with ground beef, ground chicken or ground turkey.

Note: I am really guessing on the spice amounts on this as I don’t follow a recipe I just improvise when I make it, so hopefully it will be accurate. Feel free to add more of less to your liking.”

Ingredients

  • 1/2 large sweet onion (or a yellow onion), chopped
  • 2 large cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 pound of lean ground beef (I use grass-fed organic beef) or ground turkey breast
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • black pepper to taste (I start with about 20 turns of my pepper grinder)
  • salt to taste (start with maybe 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • cheddar cheese, grated
  • tortillas of choice or lettuce for a salad base
  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 fresh lime, squeezed
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons onion, minced
  • handful of fresh cilantro, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • a few turns of the pepper mill

Procedure

  1. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add a little extra virgin olive oil to the pan and swirl to cover pan. Add onion and sauté for about 4 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add garlic and sauté another minute.
  2. Add ground meat to the onion mixture. Cook approximately 5 minutes or until the meat is cooked. Drain grease.
  3. Add spices and 1/2 cup of water, bring to a boil and then turn heat down to medium low and simmer for at least 10 minutes or until the water is mostly gone. I usually make ahead of time and let it simmer longer, adding more water as needed to keep it from drying out and the additional time intensifies the flavor.
  4. While the meat is simmering make the guacamole by smashing the avocados in a small bowl. Add chopped tomatoes, cilantro, onion, garlic, black pepper and lime juice, mix well.
  5. Warm the tortillas. Serve the meat with shredded cheese, guacamole, chopped tomatoes, jalapeños and other toppings of your choice. Today I served fresh corn and sliced bell peppers. Sometimes I roast an assortment of peppers.

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com       October 2016

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Cooking the ground beef, onions and garlic
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The spice mixture
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The beef mixture with the spices
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Making guacamole
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Fresh corn

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The taco
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The taco salad

 

Braised Beef Tacos

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Aidan’s taco
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I made mine into a taco salad

Re-posting this with pictures! Today is a perfect day for tacos. The air is crisp, but not too cold and not too warm. Perfect Autumn day. I decided I would make short rib tacos for dinner tonight since I can stay home most of the day so all I needed to do was take a quick trip to the grocery store to get ingredients and this morning I chopped the veggies and then threw the ingredients into a pot and I just check on it every hour. I like to cook it all day for the most tender, falling apart beef. The recipe calls for short ribs, and I had previously stopped making it with short ribs because they are really fatty, so sometimes I have made it with brisket, but recently I have discovered organic grass-fed boneless short ribs at Whole Foods and they are much less fatty. Yum!

I have modified this recipe that I originally found on  Epicurious.com (which was reprinted from Tacolicious, by Sara Deseran and Joe Hargave, Copyright © 2014, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.)

Braised Beef Tacos

  • Servings: 4-8
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Braised beef tacos based on the Tacolicious recipe.

Credit: Epicurious 

Ingredients

  • olive oil to coat pan
  • 1 large onion (I prefer sweet onions, but use what you prefer) – chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves (more or less depending on your preference) – chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper – chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper (or orange or yellow) – chopped
  • 1 dried guajillo chille – remove seeds if you want this to be mild, keep seeds for more spice and add a few more for a bigger kick.- chopped
  • 1-3 dried chipotle chiles – these add a lot of spice and smokiness, which is really good but my 12-year old has not learned to appreciate even the slightest spice so I leave this out unless I know he won’t be eating it. Chopped if using.
  • 3 tsp. chile powder (or more)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin (or more)
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 lbs beef short ribs or beef brisket. Cut off as much fat as possible. Slice into 3 or 4 inch pieces.
  • 32 oz low-sodium beef or vegetable broth (original recipe used 12 oz bottle of dark Mexican beer –  I have nothing against beer, the more the merrier, but I like the broth  flavor better).
  • choice of tortillas or lettuce (salad) base

Procedure

  1. Heat a dutch oven on medium-high heat with some olive oil.
  2. Add onion, garlic, bell peppers to pan and sauté until soft.
  3. Add dried chiles if using them and sauté a bit longer. Sometimes I add one or two for some smokiness and take the seeds out (keeps the 12-year-old happy).
  4. Add chile powder, cumin, oregano salt and pepper to the onion mixture. Sauté for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add broth, bring mixture to a boil.
  6. Puree half or all of the mixture, return to the dutch oven.
  7. Add beef short Ribs, bring mixture to a boil again and then turn down to simmer, cover and let simmer for several hours, or until meat is tender and falling apart. You can also put into a 375 degree oven and cook covered for several hours. Remove all bones if your meat has them.
  8. Once the meat is tender and falling apart easily, take off lid and simmer until most of the liquid has reduced and meat is just a bit saucy.
  9. Optional – let meat mixture sit (cool) and skim off fat at this point.
  10. Serve in tortillas or on a bed of lettuce with your favorite accompaniments (cheese, salsa, guacamole, corn, etc).

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Sautéeing the vegetables

 

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The broth mixture before puréeing

 

 

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Broth mixture after puréeing

 

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The meat when it is finished cooking – it shreds with a spoon! So tender!

My favorite margarita recipe – makes 2

3 oz tequila (I like Patron Silver or Corazon)

4-6 limes

small squeeze of honey or agave syrup (hearing that agave is not so healthful anymore so getting hesitant to use it)

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, combine ingredients into the shaker, shake vigorously for a minute or so, strain into a martini glass (salt-rimmed if you choose). So simple and besides the tequila, healthy.  Enjoy!