Ground meat = Beyond the Burger

Every week I make a batch of some kind of ground meat, it's always different, always tasty, and we use it in so many dishes. It keeps us on track when time is limited during the week. This is also an easy place to add grass fed and pastured (responsibly raised) beef, or lamb into your diet, supporting an industry that helps with the building of topsoil, using marginal pastureland that is unable to support crops.

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If you are curious about this, check out The Savory Institute https://www.savory.global to read a bit more about how smart grazing practices CAN make use of grasslands AND sequester carbon...unlike the shit show of feedlot CAFO operations. There is such a thing as being a Conscious Omnivore. Part of doing that is choosing your meat sources with care. Good news is that here in Savannah, for instance, you can buy grass fed beef mince (and sometimes lamb and bison) at many of the local grocery stores! One of the them often sells it for $6.99 a pound. Not bad for quality meat. So next time you shop...keep your eyes open for this. It is worth the money.

The simple truth is that for any successful agricultural operation that is not using fossil fuel inputs and chemical fertilizers, animal inputs are a vital part of this "circle of life". This is a rabbit hole I choose not to go further down today, however, if you are interested then read about what The Savory Institute is doing and have a look on Robb Wolf's and Diana Rodgers website as they have a lot of info about this also.

On to the food...

If all you do with minced beef/lamb/bison/chicken/turkey/pork is make meatballs or burgers, then you are missing out! As a weekly meal-prep kinda gal, I can get so many meals out of a couple pounds of minced meat especially when I add a bunch of vegetables and spices and flavours to it. It is so practical. In a rush? No worries, just dish some into a bowl, throw some of your prepped veggies on top and heat in the microwave. Want something for breakfast? Heat some up in a pan, crack a couple eggs on top and make an omelette or scramble. Company coming and you need something a little nicer? How about using this cooked mince as the base for a frittata and adding some sweet potato and baking in the oven. Cut a slice, make a side salad, meal done. So Easy.

 Savannah River Farms 2lb beef from the local farmer's market.

Savannah River Farms 2lb beef from the local farmer's market.

This week I made an Asian-inspired dish, using Savannah River Farms ground beef. For veggies, I had some carrots, cabbage, onion, garlic and ginger. Also, not pictured here is a 1/2 a sweet potato that needed to be used up (it's wasn't pretty enough to photograph). All of these are cheap veggie choices. More often than not, what goes into my minced meat is whatever needs to be used up in the fridge. A random zucchini, 1/2 a pepper, a carrot, 1/2 a bag of frozen spinach and broccoli that needs to be finished... the ends of the green onions that are starting to regrow themselves at the bottom of the crisper drawer. Whatever I have will go in there. It saves on a lot of wasted food!

Asian food is all about balancing sour-sweet-salty-bitter. To do that with this mix, I am using coconut vinegar, molasses (really good for you), coconut aminos, and some 5 spice powder. If you don't have that, you could use apple cider vinegar, coconut nectar or palm sugar, tamari, aminos or soy sauce and skip the 5 spice and just use extra ginger root.

Ingredients:

2 lbs grass fed ground beef, or bison

1 medium onion or 1/2 a large, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 inches of ginger root, peeled and chopped finely

3 carrots, peeled and diced

1/4 of a cabbage, shredded finely (you can use more, but I ran out of space in my wok)

1 sweet potato peeled and grated

2-3 Tbsp molasses or coconut nectar

1 Tbsp coconut vinegar or apple cider vinegar

3 Tbsp coconut aminos or tamari

2 Tbsp 5 spice powder

salt and pepper to taste

coconut oil or ghee

1. Heat your pot over medium-high heat and add a couple tbsp of coconut oil or ghee. When melted add the onions and stir allowing them to get translucent. Add the garlic and ginger, cook for a couple more minutes. Add the beef, breaking it up into smaller pieces and stirring to incorporate. Allow the meat to start cooking.

2. Get all your other veggies ready while the meat is cooking, stirring occasionally to help break up the clumps of meat and let it all cook through without burning. When the meat is just about fully cooked, start adding your veggies. Usually I put the slowest-cooking vegetables in first (in this case, the carrots). Stir them in, then add the others.

3. When the vegetables are incorporated and starting to cook through, then add the rest of the ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste LAST once all else are fully incorporated as you do not need as much salt as you think due to the aminos or tamari. Let this simmer for a little bit, reducing the liquid as the meat and vegetables will produce some juice depending on what you use and you don't want it to be too soupy. Taste it to make sure the flavours are balanced. If not, then adjust accordingly.

 A wok-full of protein and vegetables. 

A wok-full of protein and vegetables. 

Just to give you an idea of how much food this created, I dished it from the wok into an 11 cup glass food storage container. It's just about full. If I had added more cabbage and other vegetables, then I would have been difficult to stir in the wok without making terrible mess of my stove (ain't nobody got time for that shit). Next time I will likely use one of my massive stock pots just so that I can stir with abandon. The higher the veggie to meat ratio, the more it resembles a one-pot meal. I like heating up a bowl and then adding a mix of whatever else is currently in the fridge. I may be a Paleo eater, but this doesn't mean that I eat meat to the exclusion of everything else. In fact, most of the time I think I am on the #morevegetablesthanavegetarian train.  Here's how that looks in the Pyrex:

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Remember: you can change this up with different proteins, use up the vegetables in your fridge. For something more Mediterranean, then use coconut aminos and add some oregano, basil, thyme. Winter flavours your thing? How about lamb with rosemary and sage?? Southwestern: go for some peppers and Roma tomatoes with the cabbage and use smoked paprika and chipotle. So, so versatile. It isn't fancy by any stretch, but weekday meals generally aren't, are they? At least this will taste good and be good for you and a lot of bang for your buck! It freezes well too, so if you don't think you can get through it all, then save some to use at a later date.

Happy Eating ~ Dawn