Sunday, December 4, 2011

Leftover Revamp

I cook a lot of food a lot of different ways.

I don't always share it. But there is almost always left overs (the bane of one-person cooking!)

When I make something particularly delicious, I like other people to try it so they can share my joy of wonderful flavors. This is especially true when I make a lot of something. But if you caught me making something delicious, and there is only enough for me, you will be lucky to get more than one bite. I often offer said bite, warning that it will be the only one.

Recently I made something that was entirely new for me, but delicious and well executed. It had the added bonus of using up some leftover things. It is also complete peasant food; and delicious!

First, I had lots of carrots I needed to get rid of, and earlier in the week, I made some burger patties to take for lunches and I still had two left. Leftover pinto beans had to make their way into this as well. Necessity is the mother of invention.

It reminds me of an Indian dish, although I've not really had anything like it before.

Finely shredded carrots and onions slowly stewed with ginger, applesauce and star anise. In the last leg of cooking I added some chopped cooked hamburger meat (if it was truly Indian, it would be lamb). I thought of this as a way to stretch the meat and use up the carrots.

The flavors were amazing, and I served it with meaty, soft pinto beans, and some rye bread with caraway.

This was really a warming wintertime dish. Perfect for a chilly day, and full of December ingredients: root vegetables, leftover meat and beans, rounded out with flavorful bread.

Here is the recipe for the carrot dish. It would be fine without the meat for those vegetarians out there (especially paired with the beans)

4 whole carrots (use more if no meat)
two small yellow onions (sweet onions would work well too)
2 inch ginger knob
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup applesauce
one whole star anise
teaspoon red chili flakes
tablespoon neutral oil like grapeseed or vegetable
salt to taste
about half a pound cooked meat rough chopped

Dice the onion as small as possible. Grate the carrots using a microplane or the smallest holes on a cheese grater. Grate 1/2 the ginger (don't bother to peel) using the same small holes.
Over low heat, add the grapeseed oil, and when hot, add the star anise, chili flakes, and the other half of the ginger.
Add the shredded mixture, applesauce, orange juice and water, stir. Bring to a simmer and cover. Let this simmer for about 30 - 40 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the chopped meat and a teaspoon of salt. Let this simmer, covered, an additional 15 minutes.

The carrots should be super soft and the meat well incorporated. Serve in a bowl alongside soft pinto beans and with some slices of rye bread with caraway seeds. If you don't have rye bread, any crusty warm bread will do. Although the caraway in the bread compliment the carrots really well. The beans can be mashed or mixed in (I did both!) Use the bread to scoop up the mix, and treat yourself to a hot, warming lunch. I also added some more chili flakes because I like the heat.

The addition of a nice chutney would make this a top notch dish, but I didn't have any, so I used my hot, sweet, pepper relish which was pretty fantastic.


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