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#Ground meat

Thai meatball coconut curry

What could be better than the comfort of meat balls surrounded by Thai flavors and swimming in coconut broth? Very little, if you ask me. I am sharing this recipe from “Delicious” magazine as there is nothing I would do to tweak it.You can freeze half of this for another time, which is perfect!

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Serves 4
3 tbsp olive oil
2 red bell peppers, sliced
4 to 5 tbsp Penang curry paste (You can use Thai kitchen Penang curry paste, if available)
2 x 14 oz cans coconut milk (Use sugar-free brands)
1 each large red and green chilli pepper, de-seeded and finely shredded
6 scallions, (spring onions) thinly sliced
2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves removed and inner leaves finely diced
Juice of 2 limes, plus lime wedges to serve
5 to 6 oz ground almonds
(Steamed rice, optional)

For the meatballs
2lbs ground pork
5 scallions, finely diced
1 large red chilli, deseeded and finely diced
2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves removed, inner leaves finely diced
good bunch of cilantro, leaves finely chopped
1 1/2 to 2 inch piece of ginger, grated
grated zest and juice of 2 limes
1 medium free range, organic egg

In a large bowl mix the ingredients for the meat balls. Season and with wet hands, form into about 40 walnut-sized balls. Put on a large plate and chill for 15 minutes or until needed.

Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large, deep frying pan, add the meatballs in 2 batches and fry for 10 minutes until cooked through and browned. Remove and set aside.

In the same pan, heat the remaining olive oil, add the peppers and fry for 2 minutes until softened, then add the curry paste and cook for 1 minute.
Stir in the coconut milk, chillies,scallions, lemongrass and lime juice. Gently simmer for a few minutes then add the almonds and cook for a few minutes to warm through (add a little water or chicken broth if the curry sauce seems too thick)

Add the meatballs to the curry sauce and heat through. Divide half the curry among 4 serving bowls, sprinkle with cilantro leaves and serve with rice and lime wedges.

** Cool the remaining curry and spoon into a freezerproof container. Seal and freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw overnight in the fridge, then transfer to a saucepan and heat until the sauce and meatballs are piping hot.

Sweet Italian sausage and kale pasta with lemon cream sauce

This is a wonderful recipe for those cold winter nights. It’s full of strong, earthy flavors, offset by the unctious,bright lemon cream sauce. This is a recipe from the wonderful Saveur magazine.
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SERVES 6

¼ cup good quality olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
3/4 tsp crushed red chile flakes ( or more if you can take it!)
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
1 bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
2½ cups half and half
⅓ cup grated Parmesan
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound dried penne pasta
3 tbsp finely chopped parsley, for garnish

Heat oil in a 6-qt saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion and red chile flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Add the sausage and cook, using a wooden spoon to break it up into small pieces until browned, 16 to 18 minutes.
Add the chopped kale, season with salt and pepper and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes.
Add the half and half and bring to a simmer; cook, stirring occasionally until reduced by a third, 7 to 8 minutes.
Stir in Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and zest, nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper; set aside and keep warm.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the penne and cook, stirring occasionally until al dente, 8 to 9 minutes.
Drain, reserving ¼ cup cooking water; add both pasta and water to the reserved sauce and cook about 5 minutes more. Serve garnished with parsley.

Rich and warming braised sausages

I adore sausages and of all meat, sausages and bacon are the ones I would miss the most if I ever became vegetarian. This is a hearty, flavorful and warming braise, great for those Fall and Winter evenings and all it needs is some good mashed potato to soak up the juices.

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Serves 4

2 tbsp sunflower or olive oil
12 of your favorite pork sausages
6 rashers bacon, rinds removed and cut into 1 inch lengths
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 to 1 tsp smoked paprika
1 x 14oz can chopped San Marzano tomatoes
10 fl oz chicken stock
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp dark brown sugar (Muscovado is great)
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
4 fl oz red or white wine
1 x 14oz can butter beans or another type of bean you like, drained and rinsed
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large non stick frying pan and fry the sausages gently for 10 mins, turning every now and then until nicely browned all over. Transfer to a large saucepan or a flameproof baking dish and set aside.
Fry the bacon pieces in the frying pan until they begin to brown and crisp then add to the sausages
Place the onions in the frying pan and fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes until they begin to soften, stirring often. You should have enough fat in the pan, but if not, add the other tbsp of oil.
Add the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more until the onions turn a pale-golden color, stirring frequently.
Sprinkle over the smoked paprika and cook together for a few seconds longer.
Stir in the tomatoes, chicken stock, tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and herbs.
Pour over the wine and bring to a simmer.
Tip carefully into the pan with the sausages and bacon and return to a simmer, then reduce the heat, cover the pan loosely with a lid or aluminum foil and leave to simmer very gently for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Alternatively, you can cook it in the oven at 350 F for 45 minutes.

 

Simple summer stew of tomato, merguez sausage and cannellini beans

Such a simple, summery stew to serve with just a green salad. if you can’t find merguez sausage, try using chorizo.  This is so easy to throw together and full of flavor, thanks to the sausage.
 
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Serves 4
A splash of olive oil
6 Merguez or Chorizo sausages
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1lb 6oz ripe tomatoes
7 fl oz chicken stock
2 x 15 oz cans Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
A good handful Italian parsley

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan or Le Creuset braiser on high heat. Roughly chop the sausages and fry until browned and beginning to crisp around the edges. transfer to a plate and lower the heat to medium.
Add the onion to the pan and fry for about 5 mins or until softened, adding the crushed garlic to the pan after a couple of minutes so it doesn’t burn.
Quarter the tomatoes, then add to the pan with the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Season and stir, then simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the Cannellini beans to the pan with the browned sausages. Simmer for 10 mins or until the sausages are cooked through and the sauce is thickened.
Roughly chop the parsley, then stir through the stew. Divide it among 4 serving bowls. Sprinkle with ground black pepper and serve with some crusty bread and a green salad.

 

 

 

 

Curried meatballs with cilantro and coconut milk

I absolutely love anything to do with curry and also love all things “ground meat”, so the combination of curry and ground meat does it for me.
The warming spices and earthy and exotic flavors of this dish are wonderful and all it needs is some hot steamed rice to soak up all those good juices

 

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Serves 3 to 4
1 ½ lbs lean minced pork or lamb. I have been known to mix them.
1 medium to large onion, very finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 oz breadcrumbs
1 red chili, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 good tsp garam masala
2 1/2 “ piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
4 heaped tbsp. fresh cilantro (coriander) chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp curry paste
8 oz fresh tomatoes, chopped, or ½ a 15 oz can of tinned tomatoes, chopped
7 to 8 fl oz low-fat coconut milk
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
About 12 tbsp toasted flaked almonds (3 to 4 tbsp per person for serving)

Heat the oven to 425°F
Put the ground pork or lamb, onion, egg, breadcrumbs, chili, garam masala, half the ginger and half the coriander in a bowl.
Season with a little salt and black pepper, mix well then shape into small balls – approximately 1 ½” in diameter.
Put the meatballs in a large roasting tin and drizzle over the olive oil.  Toss gently.  Place in the oven and cook until golden, about 15 minutes.   While the meatballs are cooking make the sauce.
Heat a frying pan and add the curry paste and remaining ginger.  Cook for a minutes, stirring all the time.  Then add the tomatoes and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add the coconut milk and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.
Pour the sauce over the meatballs and mix well.   Return them to the oven and cook for another 20 minutes.  Just before serving, check seasoning, stir in the lemon juice and scatter over the remaining coriander and the almonds.
Serve with steamed rice

 

Meaty melanzane parmigiana

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There is not much to say about this as it’s a complete meal and all you need to do is make a green salad. Simply divine!
What could be nicer than ground meat in with the Melanzane Parmigiana? This comes direct from the one and only BBC Good Food magazine.

Serves 6
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
2lbs ground lamb
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4 thyme sprigs
4 rosemary sprigs
3 large bay leaves
2 x 14 oz or (1x 28 oz) can chopped tomatoes or tomato passata
a good glass of drinkable red wine
1 lamb or chicken stock cube
1 good handful of fresh basil, sliced roughly
1 tbsp sugar
5 large eggplants, sliced lengthways into 1/4 inch slices
2 x 7 oz balls mozzarella cheese, torn into chunks
8 oz good parmesan cheese, grated
6 oz mascarpone cheese

Heat the oil in a large frying pan or flameproof dish. Add the ground meat and brown over high heat, breaking up with a fork as you go. You may need to do this in batches. Once well browned, tip onto a plate and set aside.
Add more oil, the garlic and herbs to the pan and gently cook for 1 minute. Tip in the tomatoes and red wine and bring to a simmer, stirring up any meaty bits on the bottom of the pan. Return the ground meat to the pan, crumble in the stock cube and add the sugar and seasoning. Gently simmer for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally, splashing in more water (or lamb/chicken broth, if you have some) to keep it saucy if you need to. If you have time to simmer for longer, go for it – the longer the better for great flavor and intensity. Now fish out the herb stalks and bay leaves.
Meanwhile, heat a griddle or frying pan. Brush the eggplant slices on both sides with olive oil, then griddle in batches. You want each slice softened and slightly charred, so don’t have the heat too high or the eggplant will char before softening. Remove to a plate as you go.
Heat the oven to 350 F.
Set aside some of each cheese to go on top. In a large baking dish, spread a large spoonful of meat mixture over the base, then a layer of eggplant and season well. Spoon over more meat sauce then scatter over some fresh basil, mozzarella, parmesan and blobs of mascarpone cheese.
Add another layer of eggplant and some seasoning. Repeat, layering everything up and finish with a layer of meat sauce. Top with your reserved cheese and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the top is crisp and golden and the meat mixture is bubbling.

 

 

 

 

 

Asian spicy ground pork (or turkey) and green soup

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So soothing, cleansing, light and tasty. Oh, and easy too!  I found this in an old Bon Appetite magazine and adapted it slightly.

Serves 2
1/2 lb ground pork (or turkey)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp finely grated and peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, crushed
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, coarsely chopped (I roast mine for more flavor)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 bunch mustard greens, or kale, beet greens or other greens, torn (about 4 cups)
4 to 6 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp Thai fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
8 oz wide rice noodles

Mix the ground pork, ginger, Sichuan peppercorns, red pepper flakes and cumin in a medium bowl.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the pork mixture, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a fork, until browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the broth and bring to the boil; reduce the heat and simmer until the flavors meld, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the torn greens, scallions, soy sauce and fish sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are tender, 5 to 8 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions. Drain and divide the noodles between the bowls and ladle the soup over

 

 

 

 

 

Thai ginger lettuce wraps

Thai ginger pork lettuce wraps

 

This is a really easy dish to make and can be such fun to serve with a big platter of sturdy small lettuce leaves and a big bowl of the spicy, gorgeous Thai ginger pork.
Stick it in the center of the table, whether for starters or a main course and everyone can help themselves. It certainly cuts out the formality of dining with guests. Very low carb and inexpensive to make too

Serves 3 – 4 but can be easily doubled.
3/4 lb ground pork (you can use dark meat turkey, if you don’t eat pork)
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tbsp Asian fish sauce
1 tsp Asian sesame oil
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp grapeseed oil, or canola oil
One 8 oz can whole water chestnuts, drained and diced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
24  Boston Bibb lettuce leaves, baby romaine lettuce leaves or a small lettuce leaf strong enough to hold the meat filling.

In a medium bowl, combine the ground meat with the bell pepper, garlic, ginger, chili sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil and 1 tbsp of the grapeseed oil. Mix well.
In a large skillet or wok, heat the remaining 1 tsp oil until shimmering.
Add the ground meat mixture and stir fry over high heat, breaking up, until it is cooked through and starting to brown, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the water chestnuts, scallions, oyster sauce and cilantro and remove from the heat.
Spoon the ground meat mixture into bowls. Stack the lettuce leaves on plates.
To eat, spoon the meat onto the lettuce leaf, roll up and eat!

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Easy baked penne

Everyone needs one of these meaty, creamy, cheesy dishes that are universally adored, easy to make and can be made as much for large crowds as for 4 people.

 

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Serves 4 to 6
8 oz penne pasta
1/2 lb ground beef, lamb, sweet Italian sausage or even chorizo
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 (24 oz) jar of good quality Marinara sauce or similar spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
6 oz Provolone cheese
6 oz shredded or sliced Mozzarella
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
chopped parsley

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown the ground beef or other meat.
Add the onion and cook until softened.
Add the spaghetti sauce and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
Stir in the sour cream.
Add the drained pasta and stir to coat

Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Spray a 2 quart baking dish with non stick cooking spray.
Pour half of the pasta into the baking dish.
Top with half of the Provolone and half of the Mozzarella.
Pour the remaining pasta on top and top it with the remaining Provolone and Mozzarella and sprinkle the Parmesan on top.
Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 30 minutes.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

Loaded supreme nachos

 

This is such fun to serve at a party and completely over the top in all ways.

1 bag tortilla chips
1 x 16 oz can refried beans
1lb ground beef, browned and drained on paper towels
1/2 lb chorizo sausage, browned and drained on paper towels
1 cup cooked chicken (optional)
1 x 8 oz can tomato sauce
3 tbsp taco sauce
1 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup sliced ripe olives
1/4 cup scallions
1/2 cup shredded lettuce
1 can jalapenos, sliced (to your taste)
1/2 cup guacamole
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup spicy salsa

Heat the oven to 350 F
Combine the refried beans, browned beef, chorizo, chicken, tomato sauce and taco sauce and set aside.
Layer the chips out on an oven safe pan (use a cookie sheet). Layer the meat mixture on the chips.
Layer the cheeses, olives and green onions.
Heat in the oven until the cheese melts
Then top with the remaining ingredients and serve