What should we have for dinner? This is a question that Ryan and I alternatively ask each other day in and day out. Usually after one of us was sitting at breakfast, staring into our bowl of oatmeal and pondering what cravings we are having for the day. I’m usually thinking of bacon or pie. Choosing from among the countless possibilities has never overwhelmed us, but it’s nice when you can whittle down the possibilities. Do we have to go to the grocery store? How much will it cost? How long do you want to spend in the kitchen? It’s bad living in Utah, because I’d rather spend afternoons and evenings outside and not in the kitchen. Lately our meal decisions have been fairly easy. We get a weekly CSA from La Nay Ferme, which inevitably dictates our main ingredients for the week. If you struggle with grocery shopping and deciding what you want to eat each week, I suggest getting a CSA. Then all you have to do is just use up all the produce. I find receiving CSA shares much simpler than having to buy food à la minute.
Years ago when Ryan and I began to make all of our meals, one of the greatest loses was not being able to go out and eat Indian cuisine. Oh man, do I love Indian cuisine with all those flavors and spices, or what! I love the colors and textures and the balance of sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent in every bite. Lucky for us, someone wrote an award-winning bible of every recipe imaginable, 1000 Indian Recipes by Neelam Batra. This cookbook is arguably one of my most favorite. One of the best features about these recipes is if you have the spices, the rest of the ingredients are minimal. Most of the time we never have to go to the grocery store, unless we are low on onions, garlic, or fresh ginger. The other fantastic part is that so many of the recipes are quick. Like the recipe I will share with you today. This meal takes no time to prepare and you won’t believe how delicious it is. To keep this meal simple, I’ll give you the most basic pilaf imaginable.
Ground Beef with Spinach
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 black cardamom pods, lightly crush to break the skin
- 1 (1-inch) stick cinnamon, broken into pieces
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 1/4 pounds ground lamb or beef
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 green chile pepper, minced
- 1 tablespoon dried curry leaves
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground fenugreek seeds
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 8 to 10 ounces fresh spinach, washed and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, washed and finely chopped
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the cardamom pods, cinnamon, and cumin seeds. They should sizzle upon contact with the hot oil.
- Add the lamb, onions, garlic, ginger, green chile peppers, curry leaves, coriander, garam masala, fenugreek seeds, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the ground meat, until the meat is well-browned, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Add the spinach and cilantro and cook, stirring, until the spinach wilts, about 3 minutes.
- Add the coconut milk, cover the pan, and cook, stirring as needed, until the sauce is thick, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle extra garam masala on top, and serve.
- Original recipe can be found in Neelam Batra’s, 1000 Indian Recipes.
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