Curried Beef Tacos

(and an introduction to our Freezer Full of Meat)

Curried Beef Tacos

 
In our mud room is a totally awesome (yet rather petite) chest freezer. It was my Christmas present two years ago.

(it was a short but heavy Christmas list)

In that chest freezer is half of a grass fed cow from South Carolina.

It’s our second side of beef.

Obviously, we eat a fair amount of beef, but not near as often as we did the first year.

Grass fed beef is…

leaner, cleaner, healthier, and tastier than it’s feed-lot cousin. And buying in bulk from a farm away from a major city will cost less than half of what you’ll pay for the same quality at a grocery store. I’m sure you’ve heard all about that from other sources. What you may not know is that it takes a little getting used to. If you are new to it, or debating your first purchase of that fancy and pricey ground beef, you should know a couple of things first:

  • Grass fed beef has flavor that feedlot beef doesn’t. It’s okay, that’s what beef is supposed to taste like. It’s pleasant. Almost gamey. And the raw meat has a smell. The first time we unwrapped a pound of ground beef, we thought it smelled like “dessert”. It may seem odd at first, but once you are used to it, all other beef tastes and smells inferior
  • The flavor of grass fed beef is improved (not masked) by spices. When you add fantastic herbs and spices to other beef, you taste herbs and spices. If you do the same to the grass fed beef, you taste great beef with more flavors to dance across your tongue. This is one of those things that turns a home cook into a home chef.

veg and curry hooray

Our favorite recipe for our grass fed ground beef is Jamie Oliver’s meatloaf. I don’t think I’ve made our family recipe meatloaf since I tried this one. That’s saying a lot. I’m not going to try and feed it to my dad, though. There’s no ketchup on top. He would be suspicious. 

-The recipe for Jamie Oliver’s Pot Roast Meatloaf is no longer on the website.
You can write and ask him to repost if you like. Be sure and mention that I think it’s the best ground beef recipe EVER.-

Once I tried a few awesome recipes I got a little more adventurous with our ground beef. The following recipe is a current favorite. Once a week, even. I made it today for lunch (and took pictures) and ended up eating my share at the counter since The Man was on a phone call. It was good to be close to the paper towels. It can get messy. Finger licking messy.

I only got to this point by discovering the curry powder and then adding more and more and then wondering why it wasn’t enough. The curry paste was the kick I needed. It’s like the powder but with more… ka-pow.

I hope this will encourage you (my reader, most likely directed here from Pinterest. Hi there!) to get creative with your cooking. After we got our Freezer Full of Meat, I moved all of our spices into see-through magnetized containers that stuck to the fridge. Now that they are in view, I use them all the time! 

Coriander! Cumin! Turmeric! What?!

Give these Curried Beef Tacos a try and then let your spice flag fly!

 

Curried Beef Tacos
Ground beef with curry and coconut milk. Great on tacos, over rice, stuffed in bell peppers, and more!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound grass fed ground beef (or regular lean ground beef)
  2. 1 sweet onion
  3. 2 small carrots (or 1 bigger one)
  4. 2-5 T coconut oil
  5. 1/2 can coconut milk
  6. 1 T Massaman curry paste
  7. 1 t curry powder
  8. honey to taste
  9. other spices to your taste: pepper, thyme, turmeric, cinnamon...
Instructions
  1. Half your onion and slice thinly. Cut those slices in half. Place in a skillet with a couple tablespoons of coconut oil.
  2. Cook over medium, stirring fairly often, heat until onions are soft and stick together when you stir them. Cook at least 10 minutes and up to 30, but don't let them scorch. It's worth the wait!
  3. Scrub (or peel) and slice your carrots. Toss them in the pan with the onions.
  4. Add some more coconut oil if things look dry.
  5. Add your curry paste and curry powder. Stir and mush until paste melts and mingles with the vegetables. This will take a few minutes.
  6. Increase heat to medium and add the ground beef.
  7. Cook until meat is browned, stirring and cutting with a spatula to desired consistency.
  8. Drain off excess grease, if desired. (necessary with regular chuck grade beef)
  9. Stir in coconut milk, starting with half the can and increasing to desired soupy-ness.
  10. Add honey and other spices to taste. Trust your taste buds. It's never the same twice. Let simmer a few minutes to get all those flavors happy with each other.
  11. Keep in skillet over low heat or in a warm oven until the rest of your meal is ready.
For tacos, we serve with
  1. -whole wheat tortillas
  2. -plain greek yogurt or sour cream
  3. -freshly shredded cheese
Optional
  1. -cooked brown rice or quinoa
  2. -pinto beans
More Options
  1. The Curried Beef is excellent mixed with quinoa and stuffed in a cored bell pepper. Just bake in a 350 degree oven until the pepper is at the done-ness that you prefer. The top gets a little crispy (which I like) or you could top with cheese for a nice "lid".
  2. It's also great over rice!
Queen Of None http://www.queenofnone.com/

 

3 Satisfying Soups for the Star Child

“She’s a soup eater.”

My daughter. The second one. The Star Child. She loves soup. She once double-spooned a bowl of crab corn chowder at a fancy restaurant and deemed it the best soup she ever had.

I made a big pot of black bean soup the weekend before this school year started. She took it for lunch the first day, and then every day after that for the rest of the week. She would have eaten two thermoses of soup if I would have given her two. I started to worry that, from that point on, my daughter would forever be the kid that brought the strange, black, sludgy-looking soup to school.

She isn’t. The Star Child is far more of a social butterfly than I ever was. The other kids don’t care what she eats. Or, that she likes to wear a school sweater that’s 2 sizes too small. Buttoned up.
 
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That soup is still a staple for us. I make a big pot and then put big ladle-fuls in jars to heat up when I pack the lunches in the mornings.

We’ve had quite a bit of soup, lately. I suppose it’s the never-ending winter of 2013. It makes me want soup. And bread. With butter.

Anyway, I thought I’d share a few soups that are favorites around here. 

Black Bean Soup in progress

Black Bean Soup in progress

  • The first is that fantastic black bean soup. It’s from the blog most likely to make me cry. In a good way. Usually.

Black Bean Soup  – from Missy at It’s Almost Naptime. This stuff is not in any way vegetarian, so don’t let the name fool you. I suppose you could make it without the whole package of bacon, but that would just be silly.

Jools's Favorite Beef Stew - our way

Jools’s Favorite Beef Stew – our way

  •  Another recent staple is beef stew. We needed a delicious way to use the stew meat from the side of grass-fed beef stored in the chest freezer (possibly the best decision we ever made concerning our food buying).
Leek and Tattie - pre-tattie

Leek and Tattie – pre-tattie

Jools’s Favorite Beef Stew – I have not made a single Jamie Oliver recipe that we didn’t want to have again. This one doesn’t disappoint. I usually double the beef and add sweet potatoes. I always forget to look for jerusalem artichokes so we’ve never tried them. The resulting sop hollers out for crusty bread with butter, but is plenty filling on its own.

  •  Third is an easy potato soup. You can add all sorts of veggies to this and your pickier diners won’t notice. This recipe also introduced me to leeks. Surprisingly tasty! I’ve substituted onions and cabbage for the leeks if the market doesn’t have them. It’s a creamy soup that doesn’t require you to remember to purchase cream. In fact, there’s no milk in it at all!

 

Leek & Tattie & Whatever You Like-ie Soup
A milk-less but creamy potato soup with lots of possibilities.
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Ingredients
  1. 5 lb potatoes, chopped small (but not tiny)
  2. 3 large leeks, use the white and light green part, chopped
  3. *3 small carrots, chopped
  4. *1 sweet onion, chopped
  5. *1/2 head cabbage, chopped
  6. 8 T real butter (one stick)
  7. 1 c flour (I use whole wheat pastry flour)
  8. 8 c stock (chicken or veggie)
  9. salt & pepper
  10. *good cheddar cheese, grated, for garnish
  11. *bacon, for garnish
  12. (Ingredients marked with an asterisk are optional)
Instructions
  1. Fry all the chopped vegetables (including the potatoes) in butter in a big pot. I like to do the onions alone for a bit first if I'm using them, since I like them almost caramelized.
  2. Sprinkle the flour over the softened veggies and toss with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add the stock and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Blend that stuff with a stick blender (or very carefully batch by batch in a blender), adding more stock or water if it is thicker than you like.
  6. Check seasoning, add garnishes, and serve!
Notes
  1. This makes a LOT of soup. It freezes well, but you may need to add water or stock when re-heating, since it thickens quite a bit. That's OK. It doesn't hurt the taste.
  2. It's great to toss in a crockpot for sharing at soup lunches. I made the original for a Scottish Reformation Celebration at church and have since made it 5 more times.
  3. The good, aged cheddar makes a world of difference. Ordinary cheddars just don't have the tooth to balance with the subtle flavors in the soup.
Adapted from Celtic Cookbook
Adapted from Celtic Cookbook
Queen Of None http://www.queenofnone.com/

Like soup? Share one of your favorite recipes in the comments!