IF there was a contest to pick Canada's favourite meat product, ground beef would have my vote.
Ground beef is budget-friendly and versatile. I usually buy lean ground beef rather than extra lean; fat equals flavour, so don't shy away from the modest amount of fat that lean ground beef contains.
NOT YOUR MAMA'S MEAT LOAF
2 cups seasoned croutons (garlic or Caesar salad flavour)
½ tsp black pepper (preferably freshly ground)
Pinch of dried thyme 1 tsp chili powder
½ medium onion, roughly chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large clove garlic
½ red bell pepper
1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb ground prime rib or sirloin
1 tsp kosher salt
½ cup ketchup
1 tsp ground cumin
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Tabasco sauce
1 Tbsp liquid honey
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a food processor bowl combine the croutons, black pepper, chili powder and thyme. Pulse until mixture is finely textured; pour into a large bowl.
Combine the onion, carrot, garlic and red pepper in the food processor bowl and pulse until very finely chopped but not pureed. Combine the vegetable mixture and ground meats with the crouton crumb mixture; sprinkle salt over top. Add the egg and combine gently but thoroughly. Avoid squeezing the mixture too much or you'll end up with paté. Pack mixture into a nine-10-inch loaf pan and then turn it out onto the centre of a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Combine the ketchup, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and honey. Brush the glaze over the meatloaf after it has been cooking for about 10 minutes. Bake until no longer pink in the centre, approximately one hour.
Makes six-eight servings.
SLOW COOKER TACO SOUP
1½ lbs lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 540 ml can black beans or red kidney beans, with liquid
1 341ml can corn niblets, with liquid
1 398 ml can tomato sauce 1½ cups water
1 398 ml can diced tomatoes
1 package reduced-salt taco seasoning mix
Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat; drain off fat. Place ground beef and all remaining ingredients in a slow cooker; stir to blend. Cover slow cooker; cook on low setting for eight hours. Taste soup and add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste; add a little extra water if soup is thicker than you'd like. Serve topped with shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream and crumbled tortilla chips.
Makes eight servings.
1 lb lean ground beef
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp butter, separate use
8 ounces brown (cremini) mushrooms, sliced
½ cup beef broth
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (loosely packed)
1¼ cups sour cream
1 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp paprika (for more pronounced flavour increase to 1 tsp)
8 ounces wide egg noodles
Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling; cook the noodles while preparing beef mixture. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef without breaking it up too much, you want it to be in bite-size pieces. Season meat with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Remove meat from pan with a slotted spoon; set aside. Drain excess fat from pan; lower heat to medium. Add the olive oil to pan and heat for a minute; add the onion and cook until soft, about five minutes. Remove onions from pan and set aside with the meat.
Add the 1 Tbsp butter to the pan and when melted add mushrooms; sauté until nicely browned. Add beef broth to deglaze the pan and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Let broth reduce by about one-half; reduce heat to low. Remove pan from heat to let it cool a bit. Stir together the sour cream and paprika; add to pan and return to low heat. Do not let boil.
Stir in the lemon juice and the meat and onions. Stir in chopped parsley. Adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground pepper as desired. Drain noodles; stir in 1 tsp butter. Serve beef mixture over noodles. Makes four servings.