… Beef, Beets and Rice!
My family says that I’m notorious for making “peasant food”, or what we commonly refer to as “slop”. Not flattering in the latter term, but delicious comfort food in the former. Peasant food, at least in my mind, is that which requires no fuss, little lack of planning, can be easily altered to what’s in the fridge, and tastes good all thrown together into one dish. And, of course, it must be gluten-free and dairy-free, though these were not the guidelines for peasants of days gone by. The protein can be lean hamburger, chicken, pork, or pecans – if you want to go the vegetarian route. (In this particular recipe I also added a very small amount of crispy bacon, resulting in hints of smokiness here and there.) I use whatever vegetables I have on hand, but I try to vary them from dish to dish to ensure reaping the benefits of eating a variety of veggies. There’s usually a starch included. White or brown rice (I prefer brown) or quinoa work very well for this type of meal.
A low fat count is accomplished by including lean meat, and the extra fat is from healthy extra-virgin olive oil. The oil helps give an appealing mouth feel as well. To add extra color, vitamins, and nutrients, fresh kale or spinach leaves are added at the end of the cooking process, allowing them to wilt just slightly. For a bonus of fresh crunch or crispness to each bite, I like to garnish with peppery radishes.
Peasant food, whether this recipe would historically classify as such, creates a feel-good belly and a low-stress kitchen … a great combination! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. Be sure to make plenty as it makes perfect leftovers for busy weekday lunches.
Cooking time: about 25 minutes
Servings: about 6
4 cups cooked rice – I used 1 1/2 cups sushi rice w/2 cups water
3 slices bacon, uncooked, chopped into small pieces – Beeler’s Uncured Apple Cinnamon Bacon is gluten and casein free
4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 2 and 2
2 medium golden beets, peeled and sliced 1/4” thick into quarter circles
1 large red beet, peeled and sliced 1/4” thick into slivers
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 pounds lean ground beef – grass fed beef, if possible
1 teaspoon onion powder – McCormick’s is gluten free
2 teaspoons non-dairy margarine – I use Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread – red tub – DF
2 cups chopped kale
pepper, to taste
3 radishes, sliced into slivers, for garnish
If preparing rice, use a medium sauce pot with a lid. Add water and rice to pot, bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to a very low simmer, cover pot with foil then lid. Simmer about 18 minutes without removing lid. Turn heat off and let sit, uncovered, for another five minutes.
In a large, heavy-bottomed stock pot or cast iron Dutch oven (I LOVE cooking in mine), add bacon and heat over medium heat until bacon bits are crisp and brown. With a slotted spoon, remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Discard bacon fat and wipe pot clean, but don’t wash.
Add 2 Tablespoons olive oil to used pan, heat over medium, and add golden beets. Cook, stirring regularly, until tender but not soft. Sprinkle with 1/2 of salt. Stir. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Add remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil and cook red beets as golden beets. (Cooking beets separately minimizes the amount of bleeding from the red beets onto other ingredients. Some will still occur, which is fine, giving the dish a pink hue.) When red beets are cooked, add to golden beets and set aside.
In same pot, add ground beef, onion powder, and pepper to taste. Brown ground beef until moisture has cooked off and meat is golden brown and thoroughly cooked. Add margarine to cooked rice; stir well. Add rice, bacon, beets, and kale to ground beef. Stir well to blend all flavors. Add pepper, to taste. Serve and garnish with radish slivers.
Store leftovers in airtight container in fridge or, once completely cooled, freeze in airtight container. Easily reheated in the microwave.
Today’s peasant food … oh so comforting!
What food brings you comfort?
Safe food is a journey … Thrive!™