Ground meat (minced meat) of any type affords a wonderful variety of opportunities for getting really experimental in the kitchen and making some really tasty one pot meals. While ground beef for many will simply be about making it in to burgers or perhaps meatloaf, a few simple additions can see it transformed in to new and exciting meals to serve up to your family. This type of cooking also represents a great opportunity for using up leftovers or other items in your kitchen which require to be used up if they are not to spoil and go to waste.
Spicy ground beef and tomato stew is served on a bed of cilantro and garlic rice
Ingredients (Serves 2)
- ½ pound ground (minced) beef
- Salt and pepper
- 1 small white onion
- 2 large garlic cloves (1 for stew and 1 for rice)
- Generous handful mixed sliced bell peppers (bought in 4 ounce pack from supermarket)
- 1 medium sized and strength red chili pepper
- Small 8 ounce can of chopped tomatoes in tomato juice
- Small 8 ounce can of chickpeas in water
- 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped cilantro (coriander leaf) for stew, 1 teaspoon for rice and extra to garnish
- ¾ cup (6 ounces) basmati or long grain rice
Put the ground beef in to a medium to large pot and season with salt and pepper. Start the heat level at very low and break up the beef with a wooden spoon, working it all the time. When the melting fat starts to lubricate the pot, gently increase the heat and keep stirring the beef until the strands are fully separated and it is evenly browned all over. This should take two to three minutes.
Peel the onion and cut it in half down through the center. Lay each half flat on your chopping board and slice moderately finely across the way. Peel one of the garlic cloves and finely slice. Add the onion and garlic slices to the beef and saute for a minute or so until the onion is just softened.
Whether you wish to remove the seeds from the chili pepper is entirely up to you but it's best to know the strength of the chili before making a decision. In this instance, I merely sliced the top off and discarded it before slicing the chili fairly thinly in to discs, seeds intact. The chili slices went in to the pot along with the bell peppers and canned tomatoes. Stir well, bring to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for twenty minutes.
When the twenty minutes are up, you will find that the beef stew has thickened considerably and the peppers have fully softened.
Put a large pot of salted water on to reach a boil. This will be for the rice. Plenty of water will stop the rice grains sticking together, just as with pasta.
Open the can of chickpeas and pour them in to a colander in your sink. Wash well under running cold water. This is not really essential but it does get rid of any canning impurities, such as salt and artificial preservatives.
The chickpeas and the tablespoon of cilantro can now be added to the stew. Stir well, cover and simmer for ten more minutes.
Wash the rice through a sieve as you did with the chickpeas. This removes any dust and some of the starch. When the pot of salted water is boiling, add the rice and stir briefly but well. Adjust the heat to achieve a gentle simmer and cook in this way for ten minutes.
When the spicy beef and tomato stew is ready, give it a careful taste and if necessary, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Be sure to stir it well after any adjustment. Cover and move to a cool part of your stove to rest slightly while you finish off the preparation of the rice.
Drain the rice through a fine colander at your sink and allow it to steam off for a few minutes and dry out. Return it to the empty pot. Peel the remaining garlic clove and either crush it before adding it to the rice or grate it directly in to the pot with a small hand grater. Add the teaspoon of chopped cilantro. A fork is best used to fluff up the rice and simultaneously mix through the garlic and cilantro.
Garlic and herb rice is plated to serve as a bed for spicy ground beef and tomato stew
Divide the rice between two serving plates. You can either form it in the center of each plate as what will effectively be a bed for the stew or arrange it on one half of an oval plate like the one pictured above. I think that the latter option is better for presentation purposes but it does ultimately come down to purely personal preference.
A large serving spoon should be used to divide the ground beef and tomato stew between the two serving plates, arranging it either on top of or alongside the rice. The last of the chopped cilantro should be scattered over the plates as a final garnish before the meal is served.
It may not be suitable for a formal or trendy dinner party but eating a dish like this with a spoon rather than a fork (with or without a knife) can be a lot easier. Again, it's a matter of personal choice.