Now, Mr. Alfa might argue that this name could apply to anything I cook, because in his mind, I’m a sloppy cook. I prefer to think of myself as exuberant.
In any case, if you’re looking for something to do with a package of ground whatever (beef, turkey, chicken, soy crumbles — it all works), and you’re not inclined to use a mix or can of lord knows what, then keep on reading.
As with most of my recipes, this one is almost infinitely adjustable. You can make it spicier (Mr. Alfa’s a tad wussy about hot food), blander, thicker, thinner. If you have picky eaters in the house, leave out the mushrooms. Add some roasted corn or black beans, if you want more bulk.
We tend to eat these the first night as sandwiches (kaiser rolls or another hearty roll works best), then use the leftovers over baked or mashed potatoes, as the filling for a burrito, or even on nachos. You’ll easily get 6 servings out of this one.
1 lb ground meat (I like super lean beef best)
1 lg. green pepper, diced
1 lg. yellow onion, diced fine
8 oz sliced mushrooms (white or Baby Bellas work great)
1 clove garlic, minced
10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilis
6 oz can tomato paste
1 tbsp grainy mustard (dijon, regular, jalapeno mustard — whatever you have)
1/2 bottle of good beer (use pissy beer if you like; you’re the one drinking the other half)
1-1 1/2 tbsps chili powder (I used a mix of ancho and chipotle, so it had flavor but not a lot of heat)
2 tsps cumin
2 tsps cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsps cocoa powder
1 tsp smoked paprika (if you use more chipotle powder, you can omit this)
Salt & pepper to taste
1. Coat bottom of large skillet in a thin film of olive oil. Throw in all the veggies, and saute over medium heat until the mushrooms give up their liquid and the onions are soft.
2. Remove veggies from pan, and set aside.
3. Add meat to the skillet and brown over high heat.
4. If you used a fatty ground beef, remove the cooked meat from the skillet and drain off the fat. If you used super lean beef or ground poultry, skip this step. You may have some juice in the pan, but that’s OK.
5. Lower heat to medium to medium-low. Add the veggies and meat back in. Add the half bottle of beer, saving the rest to drink while you cook. Then add the tomatoes and paste. Stir to combine thoroughly.
6. Add all the spices and stir thoroughly.
7. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until sauce thickens and color darkens. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
8. Serve on a roll, over potatoes, or just slap it on a plate.