Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cold Weather = A Big Pot of Warm and Yummy

One of my favorite fall recipes is Japanese Style Beef and Potatoes from the fantastic cookbook Keepers. I've adapted the ingredients slightly to better suit my crowd and I thought I'd share a dish that makes my family grin when they see the cookbook opened to that chicken stock splattered page.

You'll need to make a 15 minute investment to chop the potatoes and onions and other ingredients, but I'm confident you'll find ample reward for your time. Once you've gotten everything chopped, all you have to do is add it to the skillet and you have a one pot wonder that both warms and fills you.

Meat & Potatoes with a Twist
{Slightly adapted from the Keepers cookbook, one of my FAVORITES}
{Printable HERE}
Here's what you need to serve 6:

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound ground beef
1 yellow onion, cut in half and then into wedges
3 carrots cut on the diagonal into 1 1/2 inch chunks
1 1/2 tablespoons minced and peeled ginger (see note below...this is an easy ingredient...really)
1/4 cup white cooking wine
2-3 white potatoes, washed and cut into approximately 1 inch cubes
2-3 sweet potatoes, washed and cut into approximately 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce

Here's what to do:

Chop, chop, chop. Cut, chop, and slice the onions, carrots, and potatoes.

While you chop, defrost your homemade chicken stock if you have it.

To a large skillet or dutch oven, add the oil and heat it for a few minutes over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and a small pinch of salt. Cook while breaking it up until there is no more pink.

Guard your chopped veggies from fierce predators while the meat cooks!

Let's talk ginger. You can find it in the produce section of any grocery store. It looks like this...

...not a thing of beauty, but it can really make your food special. Scrape the thin papery brown peel off as much as need for the recipe (about an inch) with a vegetable peeler or the edge of a spoon to expose the firm fragrant yellow flesh. 

After that, cut off the piece and then you will need to cut it into very small pieces (mince) which together will equal 1 1/2 tablespoons. If you choose you can use a grater to get the correct amount. Either place the wrapped remainder of the ginger root in the freezer (where it will keep for many many months) or the fridge where it should last a few weeks. 

Add the onions, carrots and ginger to the pan and cook until the onions get a little bit soft and you begin to smell the ginger. Add the cooking wine and let it simmer while you scrape up any of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. When the wine has nearly evaporated, add the white potatoes and the sweet potatoes.

{Though a double batch is pictured, quantities given in this recipe are for a single batch.}

Add the brown sugar, the soy sauce, 

the water and the chicken stock.

Stir to combine, the liquid will not quite cover the vegetables. 

Bring to a boil then stir occasionally while dish simmers with the pot lid tilted  ...

...until the potatoes and carrots are soft. Taste to check the seasoning as dish cooks and adjust seasoning if necessary. (If too salty, add more chicken stock. If not salty enough...add more salt ;-)

The dish will probably need to cook for 30-40 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes or rice or noodles or maybe just a bit of applesauce or green beans. 

Or...since you've already got vegetable, starch and protein you could serve it all by itself and enjoy!!

Here's to warm bellies, big smiles and empty bowls!

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