Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Southwestern Stew

I understand that the rest of the world is far more organized and "together" than I am.  In addition to swimming daily ( these are laps, people, not joy swimming) I have been reading the Fire and Ice series and am currently on book 5. 

Each morning I breeze through daily chores, hitting everything with a spit and promise to do better next week, swim for about 45 minutes, then read and read and read.  I have been totally lost in the Westeros world and rarely think about eating until it is finally time to eat. 

Obviously, in addition to not thinking about cooking, I am not thinking about what I bought that might possibly need to be cooked.  This evening TheHub played 9 holes of golf after work which gave me an additional 2 hours of reading time before I had to cook supper.  Fortunately, when he called to tell me he would be late I did look in the refrigerator to see what might magically appear for dinner.  When I opened the meat drawer I found 6 pounds of ground chuck I bought several days ago for the freezer.  Oops, I didn't get it frozen and it had to be cooked immediately.  All 6 pounds were browned and everything was put away in freezer bags with the exception of about 1 cup of browned ground, which I left out for the meal.   I pulled out a few cans and a few spices and declared it done.  I am calling it Southwestern Stew because I am feeling terribly uninventive plus I only have a few chapters of the book left and I really want to get back to my reading.

                                                           Southwestern Stew 

1 pound ground chuck ( I used less but more would taste better)
1 small onion, julienned or chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can beans (black, pinto, or kidney) undrained ( I wanted to use black beans but had none)
1 can niblet corn, drained
1 small can chopped chiles undrained
1 can diced tomatoes, drained ( save that juice for spaghetti sauce)
3 tablespoons Goya Cilantro base*
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
salt to taste
1 slice cheese per person ( I used deli sliced sharp cheddar cheese. Real cheese will melt, the stuff wrapped individually in plastic not so much.)

Brown the ground beef in a large skillet.  About midway through add the onions and the garlic.  Continue cooking until the beef is cooked through, but the vegetables are just wilted, not browned.  Add the canned vegetables and stir everything together to mix well.  Stir in the cilantro base. chile powder. red pepper flakes and let the mixture cook on medium low for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Taste and see if you need to add salt.  Since each can had salt already we needed very little added.  I used about 1/4 teaspoon but we like just a hint of it.  Continue cooking and turn the heat up until it is bubbling throughout.  Ladle into bowls and top with a thin slice of cheese. ( I would have preferred to sprinkle with grated cheese, but  I had none to grate and as of tonight I am completely out of all cheese.

Everyone liked this.  Son2 ate with us tonight and he kept wondering what the underlying flavor was.    Fortunately his bowl was empty when I told him it was cilantro base so he could tell me how much he dislikes cilantro.  I am glad he had finished his entire HUGE bowlful before he realized he hated it

I plan on making this again in the future when it is not a punt situation. I wonder if Son3 hates cilantro also.  Maybe I will not tell him until he eats 2 bowls of something he dislikes.

* I don't know if any of you have tried Goya Cilantro Base before or not.  I discovered it at Publix in the ethnic food aisle and bought it just because I had never seen it before. ( I am probably the only one late to the cilantro base party).  I have used a tablespoon in 1/4 cup mayonnaise for a quick fake aioli for turkey sandwiches.  I put  the same amount in 1/4 cup of sour cream to alter the flavor of baked potatoes.  You get a tamed version of cilantro (fyi, I love cilantro) along with a citrusy under flavor  .  This is going to be a product I keep all the time.

For the record I receive nothing for anything I say on this blog.  The opinions are either mine or those of the people who eat what I cook.  So, come eat with me and I'll quote you.  Unless you say my cooking stinks and then I will artfully craft a sentence that will make you sound ambiguous.

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