Ground beef an all-star of comfort foods
By Joan Namkoong
Special to The Advertiser
There are so many delicious meals to make with ground beef. No doubt you have a favorite spaghetti sauce or chili recipes that use ground beef. Meatloaf and meatballs are the kind of comfort food that's perfect for a Sunday Night Supper. And what about a delicious, hearty combination with fresh Island eggs and locally grown greens for a Sunday brunch?
A twist on a classic tomato-based Bolognese, this pasta sauce uses ground beef with red wine and cream in a delicious combination. Make a batch of this on a Sunday afternoon; serve it over orecchiette or spaghettini. Use leftovers during the week atop crusty bread, topped with more Parmesan cheese.
RED RED BOLOGNESE
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 pound ground beef
• 1 bottle dry red wine, such as cabernet or merlot
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 2/3 cup heavy cream
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or basil
• 12 ounces spaghetti or other pasta, cooked and drained
• Parmesan cheese, grated
In a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or saute pan, cook the onions in olive oil over medium heat until softened. Stir in the garlic, add the beef and stir until the meat cooks through, separating into crumbly pieces. Add the wine, turn up the heat until wine bubbles. Reduce liquid by half; skim off any gray foam. Add tomato paste and stir. Cover, turn heat down to very low and cook for at least 2 and up to 4 hours. Stir from time to time.
Just before serving, stir in the cream and add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Taste again, stir in parsley. Serve over pasta, sprinkled with Parmesan. Serves 6.
Joe's Special is a classic San Francisco dish of ground beef, spinach and eggs, usually served on top of sourdough bread. Sansei Restaurant chef D.K. Kodama cooks up his version of Joe's Special using Island ground beef, pork, bok choy and, of course, fresh Island eggs. He serves it at the KCC Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings using Hawaii Ranchers red veal. This recipe will be in the Farmers' Market Cookbook Volume II, due out in May from Watermark Publishing.
JOE'S SPECIAL WITH BOK CHOY
• 1/4 pound Island ground beef (or red veal)
• 1/4 pound Island ground pork
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• 1 cup 3/4-inch-diced onion
• 4 cups 1/4-inch-chopped bok choy
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon oregano
• 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1 tablespoon canola oil
• 8 large "Island Fresh" eggs, beaten
• 2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
• 2 tablespoons sour cream
• 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the beef, pork, onions and garlic. Cook until the meat is brown and the onions begin to turn translucent. Add the bok choy, salt, oregano and garlic powder and cook until the bok choy is wilted but still crisp. Remove from the heat and drain excess liquid. Set aside.
In the same saute pan, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the meat mixture and warm it for 30 seconds. Add the eggs and scramble them with the meat until the eggs are set but still moist. Transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with cheese, sour cream and green onions. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and serve. Serves 4.
• Pecorino Romano is a sheep's milk cheese from Italy, pale yellow and hard. It's a little sharper in flavor than Parmesan, but you can use Parmesan as a substitute.
A classic meatloaf should be juicy but firm enough to hold together when sliced. Meatloaves are usually bound together with egg, bread or cracker crumbs or oatmeal. Other ingredients can include grated carrots ( 1/4 cup) to add some sweetness, chopped and sauteed mushrooms for savoriness ( 1/4 cup) and chili sauce or Dijon mustard (2 teaspoons) for a little spice. Experiment and let your taste buds be the judge.
Don't overmix a meatloaf or it will become dense and tough. It's always a good idea to cook a small amount of the meatloaf mixture before your cook the whole thing. Saute a small patty in a skillet or microwave a couple of tablespoons for tasting. Make a double batch and freeze one after cooking. Leftover meatloaf sandwiches are a must.
• 1 pound ground beef
• 3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
• 1/2 cup chicken broth or milk
• 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
• 1 egg
• 6 tablespoons ketchup
• 1/4 cup minced parsley
• 2 teaspoons kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place ground beef in a bowl. In another bowl combine the bread crumbs with the broth or milk and let stand for 5 minutes. Add to the ground beef along with remaining ingredients. Mix well (use your hands!). Place the mixture into a loaf pan or form a loaf on a baking sheet. Bake for 60 minutes.
For flavor variations on the meatloaf theme, go to www.shareyourtable.com.