I felt shame to admit to Aarin that I haven’t been eating the pounds and pounds of gorgeous grass-fed beef she sold me last fall (from her own cow share), so I got some ground beef and a pint of tomato sauce out of the freezer yesterday, intending to make a simple marinara with meat sauce. Here’s what happened:
2 medium spring onions (mine were walla wallas)
1/2 fennel bulb (with feathery tops reserved)
5 ribs celery
1/2 lb #4 Porcini mushrooms (Farmer’s Market– $2!)
1 1/2 pounds grass fed ground beef
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
4-5 whole cloves
7-8 whole allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
1 pint tomato sauce
2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon lavender
1 teaspoon herb blend (italian, provence, etc. I used my “garden potpourri,” which includes almost every herb I grow)
Salt, pepper, chipotle powder to taste
Very finely dice the onions, fennel bulb, celery, and mushrooms and saute in a large bottomed 4 quart saucepan in a few tablespoons fat (I used rendered chicken fat).
Meanwhile, brown the beef on fairly low heat with a bit more fat (I did it in a cast iron dutch oven), stirring often. Toast whole spices, grind and add with cinnamon and ginger to beef as it browns.
When beef is brown and veggies translucent, add them together with tomato sauce.
Turn the heat up to medium high and stir contantly while you add enough chicken stock to make a consistency you like.
Add the rest of the spices, fennel tops, and salt, pepper, and chipotle to taste, turn down to a simmer, and let it go as long as you like.
We had ours over Eden’s Kamut Spirals, with our own fresh parsnips and green garlic and farmer’s market fresh broccolini and carrots in a lavender-lemon sauce, and three morels each fried in ghee on top.
With Bradley’s chopping, stirring, and spicing help, and Mom’s clean-up, the whole dinner had a very high quickness-to-deliciousness ratio.