Archive for the ‘ground beef’ Category

Indian-Spiced Loose Meat Sandwiches

February 9, 2011

This sandwich filling started as a recipe for keema sookh from one of my favorite food blogs, Tigers & Strawberries.  I can’t remember why I ended up turning it into a sandwich filling, but we loved it.  Although it’s a little more work than sloppy joes, it’s a nice change of pace, flavored with the warm spices of Indian cuisine.

Indian-Spiced Loose Meat Sandwiches

4 cloves garlic
1 1″ cube fresh ginger
2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 tsp. coriander seeds
1/4 tsp. cardamom seeds
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil or ghee
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp. sweet paprika
1 Tbsp. turmeric
water as needed
6 sandwich buns
tzatziki cucumber yogurt dip

Grind the dry spices using a coffee grinder that you only use for grinding spices.  Add the ground spices, garlic, ginger, and a couple of tablespoons of water to a blender jar and puree. You can also use a mortar and pestle to grind the garlic and ginger at the same time as the dry spices.

Heat a skillet over medium heat, add oil or ghee. When the oil is hot, add the onions, and cook, stirring, until they are a dark reddish brown. Be sure to keep stirring so that they don’t burn.  When they are golden brown add the salt and keep cooking until the onions are deeply browned.

Once the onions are brown, add the contents of the blender and cook in the oil for about a minute. Add the ground beef and the milk, breaking up the meat until it all begins to fall apart and brown. Add the paprika and turmeric and cook until the milk is evaporated. Now add about 1/2 cup of water and continue cooking for twenty minutes, adding additional water if needed to keep it from boiling dry.

After 20 minutes and the water is completely cooked away, add salt to taste.  Serve on buns spread with tzatziki.


Skillet Moussaka

September 2, 2010


I always think of making moussaka as kind of an undertaking, like making lasagne: Making different concoctions and then layering them. Then I came across a recipe for a shortcut moussaka which made me realize it could be do-able as a quick dinner. It’s not authentic but it’s tasty.

This recipe replaces the bechamel sauch with a mixture of soft cheese and cream and I made a few additional changes to make it a skillet version you could make in one pan. I also added some zucchini, since it starts arriving around the same time as the eggplant and it feels good to kill two birds with one stone.

Your skillet will end up under the broiler, so make sure it’s a broiler-safe pan. Or you can transfer the mixture to a baking dish before broiling.

Skillet Moussaka
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 lb. eggplant, cut into medium dice (multiple smallish younger eggplants will be better than one old giant eggplant)
1 zucchini, cut into medium dice
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef or lamb
1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes with juice (one 15-ounce can)
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh-ground black pepper
6 ounces creamy herbed cheese, such as a brebis, chevre, Boursin, or Rondele
1/4-1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

In a large stainless-steel frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the eggplant and zucchini and cook about 5 minutes. Add the lamb or beef and cook until the meat loses its pink color. Stir in the wine, tomato paste, tomatoes, bay leaf, cinnamon, allspice, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

In a small saucepan, combine the soft cheese, 1/4 cup cream, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Warm gently, stirring often, over low heat until just melted. You want an easily spreadable, but not soupy, consistency, so add a little cream if it still seems too stiff; just don’t add too much.

Remover the cover from the skillet. If the mixture has a lot of liquid, increase the heat to medium-high and cook it, uncovered, to reduce and concentrate a bit, stirring occasionally. This will probably take 5-10 minutes.

Spoon the cheese sauce over the mixture in the skillet. Or, grease an 8-by-8-inch baking dish, transfer the eggplant/meat mixture and then spoon the cheese sauce over it. Sprinkle grated Parmesan over the top. Broil until just starting to brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

4 servings.

Unlovely and Unloved: Celeriac

December 16, 2009

We ain't had nothin' but maggoty bread for three stinking days! We want cheesy meatloaf!

Nothing in the CSA box used to make me shudder more than seeing a bulb of celeriac. I tried it once and didn’t like anything about it. In fact, a bulb of celeriac reminds me of a Gothmog, a character from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.  See? You can barely tell them apart!  And yes, I know. I’m a nerd.

Gothmog and celeriac. Separated at birth?

Usually I leave the celeriac behind for someone who likes it to pick up.  So imagine my dismay a couple of weeks ago when I didn’t pay attention to what was in my box.  When I unpacked it at home, there it was at the bottom.  A bulb of celeriac.  Sitting there rather accusingly, I thought. 

And then salvation appeared in the form of a recipe from Harmony Valley Farm’s cheese newsletter. My theory is if you throw enough cheese, butter and cream at something, it should become edible. Throw in beef and pork and it’s assured. Cheesy Meatloaf to the rescue. A yummy, moist meatloaf, oozing with cheese. I used a garlic scape & pepper cheddar. I think a pepper jack would be wonderful too. 

This meatloaf was almost succulent!  And the bonus:  I couldn’t even tell there was celeriac in it.  Is that wrong? 

Cheesy Meatloaf

Adapted from a Harmony Valley Farm Cheeseplate Newsletter, November 19-21, 2009, Volume 2, Issue 15

Serves 4 

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 small celeriac, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 medium shallot, diced
1/4 ounce dried wild mushrooms, soaked in 1/2 cup hot water, chopped, soaking liquid reserved
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 cups fresh bread crumbs
6 ounces of your favorite firm cheese, 3 oz. shredded & 3 oz. cut up into 1/2 inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1 egg, lightly beaten 


Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 350°F. Line a roasting or jelly roll pan with foil and coat the bottom with 1 tablespoon of the oil. 

In a deep sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the carrots, celeriac and shallot and sauté until tender and starting to caramelize, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Let cool for 10 minutes. 

In a bowl, combine 3/4 cup of the bread crumbs and 1/4 cup of the mushroom soaking liquid and soak for 5 minutes. 

In another bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup bread crumbs, the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, shredded cheese, salt and pepper. 

In a large bowl, using your hands, gently mix together the ground beef and pork, soaked bread crumbs, vegetable mixture, egg, cubed cheese, salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and shape into a 10-by-5-inch loaf. Cover the top and sides of the meat loaf with the
cheese-bread crumb mixture. 

Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat loaf registers 165°F, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let the meat loaf rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

5-8 Club’s Saucy Sally

October 21, 2009

If you’re of a “certain age” you probably remember the jingle “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun.”  In other words, The Big Mac.  And, if you’re like me, occasionally you still get a hankering for one.  But when I give in, the experience doesn’t quite live up to the memory.

So . . . you want to satisfy that Big Mac craving.  But you don’t want to visit a McDonald’s AND you want it to be better than you remember.  Head over to the 5-8 Club for a Saucy Sally.  It’s “One big all beef patty STUFFED with special sauce, topped with lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a toasted-on-request bun.”   I loved it.  And you can have onion straws with it instead of fries.  And a beer.

If this is Minnesota, it must be Hotdish . . . Right?

September 29, 2009


Question:  If you don’t open a can while making a hotdish, is it still a hotdish?

Regardless of the answer, if it’s that time of year and you’ve got a lot of fresh farm products, it’s a good way to play with all kinds of different flavors. I was working with tomatoes, peppers, and garlic from Harmony Valley Farm, Spanish onions from Living Song Gardens, and ground beef from Chase Brook Natural Meats.

I adapted my version from a recipe on Simply Recipes.  It can be the jumping off point for endless variations and I don’t think I ever make it the same way twice.  Sometimes I like to grate cheese over it and run it under the broiler for a few minutes;  dice some zucchini to saute with the onions and peppers; add a tablespoon of chili powder and you’ve got Chili-Mac; use up the last inch of salsa; throw in some olives . . . well you get the idea. And if it’s the dead of winter and all you have are canned veggies, the hotdish police aren’t going to know one way or the other.  And as long as you’re opening cans, open up some black beans.   It’ll be delicious.

Hamburger and Macaroni Hot Dish Without a Can

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1-2 jalapeno, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
28 oz. tomatoes, diced
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1/2 tsp.  salt
pepper to taste
2 cups  macaroni, uncooked

Cook the macaroni according to package directions, drain, and set aside.

diced veggies 

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat.  Add onions, peppers and garlic with a pinch of salt.  Cover, turn heat down to medium, and let veggies sweat until softened, about 10 minutes.  Stir them occasionally.  Set aside.

diced tomatoes

Brown the ground beef over medium-high heat.  Then add the vegetables, tomatoes and seasonings. Turn heat down to medium and let the tomatoes cook down for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

add onions & peppers

add tomatoes

Add the macaroni.   Adjust the seasonings.  That’s it!

hot dish