Monday, January 3, 2011
It seems fitting that this, my 100th blog post, is also the first post to feature my new toy. I turned 28 in late December, and this was my husband's birthday present to me. The lighting in our kitchen sucks, so I had been making due by taking my photos near our Aerogarden to make use of it's bright light (incidentally, I've had to relocate my collection of begonias near it as well, as it seems that our house is also too dark for those. They are now thriving and taking over our kitchen. You can hardly get to the microwave anymore). Anyway, for Christmas, my mother-in-law also gave me several fun-colored plates to spice up my meal plating (Fiestaware, same as our white ones). Looks like another 100 posts are in store for this food blogger!
So, about this Thai beef dinner. Let's be honest, it's basically glorified sloppy joes. But it's fabulous. I love the flavors of coconut milk, curry paste, and fish sauce. Fish sauce smells like bad cat breath by itself, but it does good things to Thai food, I promise you.
Other than leeks and limes, if your pantry is well-stocked, you could have all the other ingredients on hand anytime you wanted to make this dish. A big jar of curry paste is cheap and keeps practically forever in the fridge. We just finished our bottle of fish sauce with this meal, but before that we had it at room temperature in the cupboard for 9 months (the high salt content is what keeps it from spoiling). Keep a few cans of coconut milk and tomato sauce in the pantry, some ground beef or turkey in the freezer, and you're all set!
Thai-Style Ground Beef
adapted from Cooking Light - January 2006
serves 4 (1/2 cup ground beef mixture, 3/4 cup rice)
Notes: The original recipe calls for cooking spray instead of olive oil, and iceberg lettuce instead of romaine. My ground beef was not lean, so I spooned out the fat before I adding the curry paste and tomato sauce. This recipe is easily doubled, and I highly recommend doing so to ensure that there will be leftovers.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced leek (I sliced the leek lengthwise into quarters first, then thinly sliced)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 pound lean ground sirloin
1 teaspoon red curry paste (such as Mae Ploy, from an Asian grocery store)
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon grated lime rind
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce (we like this brand, from an Asian grocery store)
3 cups any hot cooked rice (we had wild rice, so we used that)
Lettuce wedges, such as romaine or iceberg (optional)
Chopped green onions (optional)
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. When hot, add the leek and cook 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the beef and break it up with a wooden spoon. Cook for about 7 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring often.
Stir in the curry paste, then the tomato sauce. Cook for a couple of minutes to allow about half of the liquid to evaporate. Add the milk, brown sugar, grated lime rind, lime juice, and fish sauce. Here it says to cook for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened, but mine was still very liquidy at that point, so I let it go for probably 8 more minutes (I lowered the heat slightly so the bottom wouldn't burn, and I stirred it often).
When the beef mixture is thickened to your liking, serve with rice and lettuce leaves. You could also serve the beef mixture in warm corn tortillas if you'd like. Garnish with cilantro and green onions.