And so it is, the first month of the year is almost over. The newness of 2011 has worn out and although the thrill ride of the holidays is definitely tucked beneath shadows of gift wrappers past, I couldn’t be more excited to finally let you know what’s been cooking up in my kitchen! Casey, the talented force behind Kitchen Play, organizes monthly events that bring bloggers and PR professionals together — in the name of food and all things food-related. Several weeks ago she informed me there will be an all-Canadian Kitchen Play event…and would I want to join? Uhm, yes!
I was curious to find out which company or organization we will be working with and what “secret ingredient” participants will be asked to use for the recipes. My anxiousness beefed up (hah!) while I waited for more details from Casey. A few days later, she revealed that we would be sponsored by no other than the Canadian Beef (www.beefinfo.org). Smile.
Would you like to “play” along with us in the kitchen?
Try any recipe for this month’s Kitchen Play — go crazy and put your own twist!– for a chance to win $100 from Canadian Beef. So what are you waiting for? (Please refer to the complete contest rules.)
I love beef. I love my steaks. Ribs. Even offal. My assignment was to create an original entree recipe using, yes, beef! Wheels started turning and one of my initial recipes consisted of tender cuts, but quite expensive. After testing it, I realized that won’t fly on a regular weekday meal; not even on a weekend. The truth is, I would have filet mignon with salt and pepper cooked medium rare with some sizzling butter and sauteed mushrooms on a regular basis . I’ll also take grilled wine-marinated top blade steaks. Given a good quality piece of meat, I will just let its amazing flavor and texture dazzle me. However, this is not the time to go down the beaten path and there is definitely more to beef than grilling steaks! I wanted to create something that’s different from the norm, but still hopefully a dish that everyone can enjoy.
Heather (Travis), the Beef Information Center‘s director of Public Relations, told me that they are open to any and all ideas. I like that. If you know me, I will go there. After experimenting with one idea after another, and eating one mistake after another (yes, I end up with disappointing meals, too!), I took several deep breaths… Beef is hearty. It’s filling. When done right, it makes a world of difference between blah meat and a cleaned out plate that begs for more. I wanted that feeling from my dish. It’s odd how recipes start out in my head. For this main course, the goal was to get that feeling of eating something so good you sit back and unconsciously rub your belly out of happiness and satisfaction. Plus, it’s winter, so I was looking for that element of heat. Soup. Spice. To keep the cold away.
I decided on some chili. But what can I do to it? I sure love the different textures when I make it with ground meat and chunks to chew on, and the heartiness a good chili brings. However, given my Asian roots and upbringing, I still admittedly look for flavors of home: coconuts, coconut milk, lime (in the Philippines we have a citrus called calamansi)…
So. What if?
What if, with careful manipulation of the ingredients, I can make this North American favorite with an Asian twist? Do I go there? Do I dare put coconut milk in my chili? Yes, yes yes!
Beef goes really well with coconut milk, which goes hand in hand with chili. How about a double kick from chipotle chili and sriracha? The flavor is full, but I didn’t like the taste to lose its novelty, so let’s add a burst of freshness from cilantro.
A spritz of lime.
Finish it off with warm garlic rice. I would go so far as to eat it with coconut garlic rice. Wow.
Was that a Chili con Coco? Chili con Coco Loco?
Ooh, and what is that something else you taste? You can’t really figure it out, but it’s there. You’ll just have to scroll down and check the recipe! There are a couple of things you might not expect in this chili, but trust me, they make it so good. :-)
As I sit back and relax, and enjoy a full belly of chili goodness, I hope you’ll try it. It’s now my new favorite chili.
Thank you again to our sponsor, Canadian Beef, and Kitchen Play for letting us “play” in the kitchen to bring you new ways to enjoy beef in your meals. And don’t forget, you can join us for this month’s event by cooking along for a chance to win $10o from Canadian Beef!
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
- ½ cup lemon-lime flavored soft drink (such as Sprite or 7-Up)
- ½ pound (~230 grams) top sirloin steak fast fry, cut into thin strips of 2”x.5”x.25”
- ½ pound (~230 grams) ground sirloin
- 1 teaspoon salt, and more to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ red bell pepper, chopped
- ½ green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 tablespoon liver spread or liver pate * [see Notes]
- 1 cup tomato sauce (or ½ cup tomato paste + ½ cup water)
- 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce ** [see Notes]
- 3 tablespoons canned coconut milk, plus extra for serving
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (remove tough stems first), plus extra for serving
- 3 small carrots, chopped (about ½ cup)
- 1 lime, sliced in eighths, for serving
For GARLIC FRIED RICE:
- 4 teaspoons coconut oil or vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 4 cups cooked (white) rice
- ½ teaspoon garlic granules or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder or ½ teaspoon garlic salt
1. Heat coconut oil in a Dutch oven or medium sauce pan over medium heat. Cook onions for 2 minutes, then add garlic and cook for 5 minutes before adding the beef strips. Sauté until the redness on the meat is almost gone, about 4 minutes. Stir in soft drink, cover and boil for 10 minutes, letting the steam out and mixing once halfway through.
2. Add ground sirloin and spices, and mix thoroughly. Cover and cook for 6 minutes, or until meat juices become clear and reduced but not dry.
3. Stir in bell peppers, liver spread, tomato sauce, sriracha sauce and cilantro. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt or hot spices to suit your taste. Turn off heat and stir in carrots. Serve with a small dollop of coconut milk, cilantro and a slice of lime. Enjoy with coconut garlic fried rice.
For GARLIC FRIED RICE***:
Heat oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Cook garlic for a minute or so until the edges get a faint shade of gold. Add rice, garlic granules and a couple of pinches of salt. Stir and flatten rice against the pan with a heatproof spatula for about 5 minutes to faintly brown and toast. Best eaten warm.
!!! It is important to use non-stick frying pan and silicone spatula to prevent rice from sticking.
* Liver spread can be found canned in Asian supermarkets, with brands such as Palm or Reno. I recommend Palm of the two. If you cannot find liver spread or pate, you could either make it from scratch or just add half a cube of beef boullion. The liver gives an additional depth of flavor, especially if you find the beef liver kind.
** Sriracha sauce can be purchased in most supermarkets and Asian stores. If you prefer a really mild heat to your chili, halve this amount. This recipe could be considered “mild” already, but some are sensitive to the heat.
*** To cook coconut rice: Replace half of the water you use to cook rice with coconut milk. Add a couple of pandan leaves if you can find them; they would make your rice so fragrant and appetizing!