Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Curried Beef Biryani with Barley

A B kinda night, if you ask me.

I've been reading a lot of Clean Eating magazine lately. I like its basic message; a message of exercise, lots of water, attempting to cut down as far as possible the amount of processed food one is eating. Simple breakfast, simple meals for the most part, with much of the 'extra' fat cut out.

I have decided to experiment with some of their recipes I love the most. Of course, in this house, almost nothing gets made exactly the way the recipe says.

Last night, Jason and I worked in tandem to experiment with a recipe Clean Eating calls "Curried Bison Biryani, with Barley & Mango".

Tweaked a little bit to work with what we had in our kitchen, we ended up with a great meal for a family, something that can be whipped up fairly cheaply. I doubled the original recipe and ended up with enough food for Jason and I to eat one full meal and each have one more to take to work as leftovers. I'm calling it about four good-sized servings, but probably six if you're a light eater.

Now don't read 'curried' and assume that means 'spicy'. The Biryani spice blend the recipe gives you is absolutely not spicy at all, but wonderfully flavored nonetheless, full of turmeric and ginger and cinnamon and deliciousness.


Onto the recipe!

Curried Beef Biryani With Barley

1 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups dry quick-cooking barley
 1 medium onion, sliced into rounds
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5-6 cloves garlic, sliced into thin rounds
1 cup frozen peas
2 lbs very lean ground beef
1 can sliced tomatoes, no salt added
1/2 cup chicken broth

Biryani Spice Blend:
2 tsp cumin, ground
1 tsp cinnamon, ground
2 tsp coriander, ground
2 tsp turmeric, ground
roughly 3-4 tsp fresh ginger, sliced (use ground, 2 tsp, if you don't like fresh ginger)

Onto the Creation!

To start: In a medium pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil.

While your water is heating, add the ingredients to your spice blend and the salt to a small bowl. Mix thoroughly and set aside.

When water comes to a boil, add barley, stir around, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Allow to simmer for 10-12 minutes as per the cooking directions on the box. Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, while barley is cooking, get the olive oil heating in a large skillet. Saute your onion for around 3 minutes, until soft, just slightly transparent, and fragrant. Add garlic and cook for one minute or so, then add chicken broth. Stir frequently for another minute. Or really, 'til you feel good about it.

Stir in your Biryani Spice Blend and salt, add peas, tomatoes, and your ground beef. Mix all thoroughly. Cover with lid and cook for five to ten minutes, until mixture is bubbly. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring every couple of minutes, until the ground beef is completely cooked.

When everything is completely cooked, toss barley into the pot with the rest, mix thoroughly, and then serve.

End result: YUM.

Seriously. The spices in the biryani spice blend are not those I usually turn to when I'm cooking, but it made a delicious, mild Indian-inspired dish that was filling, but not over-the-top. The use of very lean ground beef meant that I wasn't swimming in beef-fat either. And those who know me well know I'll take any excuse to eat peas.

This is the first experiment with recipes inspired by Clean Eating's cooking, and definitely not the last.

Next up:

Almond Milk Rice Pudding.

I'll let you know how that one goes, too.

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