Monday, February 28, 2011

one pot meal: guadalajara

I looove one pot meals. Besides the obvious (hello, only one pot to wash!), there's something comfy cozy about dishing up a hearty casserole or stew on a cold winter's day. This one pot meal, however, is neither a casserole or stew. In fact, I'm not even sure how I would classify this dish. Besides maybe, delicious!

My family calls it Guadalajara because of its Mexican'ish vibe. It's comprised of nothing more than ground beef, rice, tomato sauce and spices. Simmered in one pot, these humble ingredients transform into a delicious and satisfying meal. It's great by itself, but it's best when served with chopped, fresh produce and Fritos scoops. It's sort of a play on the tostada, but heartier! My family absolutely loves this dish. Evan typically ends up eating at least a couple bowls full. And Mia? I made this just yesterday and she proclaimed, "Ummmm!! Mama's the chef!!" Coming from a finicky four-year-old, I take that as quite the compliment. :)

Ingredients: (makes about four servings)
1.5 lbs lean ground beef
3/4 cup of uncooked white rice
1 14-oz. can of tomato sauce
1 medium onion finely diced
5 cloves of garlic minced
3/4 can of water (using empty tomato sauce can so you can get every last drop of sauce)
2 Tablespoons of chili powder
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (adjust this based on your preference for spiciness)
1 teaspoon of chili flakes
olive oil
salt and pepper

diced tomatoes
chopped cilantro
chopped iceberg lettuce
shredded Mexican Blend cheese
sour cream
Tostitos Scoops (or you can use a tostada shell, or tortilla chips)

  • Heat olive oil in large saucepan or wide pot. I use my Le Creuset braiser and put enough oil to generously cover the bottom of the braiser.
  • When oil is hot, add onions and cook well. About 3 minutes.
  • Add chili flakes and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes more stirring well.
  • Add ground beef. Season with salt and pepper as desired, and saute until cooked through. You want to have a semi-chunky consistency to the beef so DON'T overly crumble it (as you would if you were making tacos, for example.)
  • Add rice and saute for 2 minutes.
  • Add tomato sauce and stir. Let boil for a couple of minutes.
  • Add chili powder and cayenne pepper. Stir while boiling.
  • Season with more salt and pepper if desired.
  • Add water. Bring to boil and stir. Allow to boil for a couple of minutes.
  • Cover and allow to simmer until rice is cooked through. Add a little more water if rice needs it.
  • Once rice is tender, uncover and cook uncovered for a couple minutes stirring as you go. Consistency should not be dry. It should be thick and hearty like a casserole. Serve immediately.
** Feel free to taste as you go and adjust the spices. If you want it spicier, add more cayenne. The mixture will not be as spicy as you think, as you will be topping it with cheese and sour cream.

To serve:
Scoop Guadalajara into pasta bowl. Add shredded cheese right on top so it melts. Top with lettuce, a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with tomatoes and cilantro. Use the Fritos scoops as edible spoons! Scoop up Guadalajara with the chip and pop it into your mouth!!


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