Tuesday, June 17, 2008

One Pot Meals

It's all about making life easier. I can rant and rave all I want about why you should have family dinner and cook at home but, if you don't have easy recipes to cook, it just aint going to happen. So, each week I plan to post a simple one pot meal. These are meals that, along with something like a basic green salad, make up dinner. Many can be made in advance, or doubled and frozen so you have more for another time. None require culinary skills beyond the basics and all are tried, true and delicious.

To kick off the series, here is a recipe for a basic Thai curry. This is a bit spicy but not overwhelmingly so. I wrote it for beef but, chicken breasts, pork tenderloin, shrimp, or simple veggies all work too. I'd serve this with some steamed jasmine rice and call it dinner. To make the meat easier to cut, put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes first-this will firm it up just enough to give you nice clean strips.

Thai Green Curry Beef
1/2 T. canola oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1-2 T. green curry paste (use more if you like it hot)
1 T. minced galangal (Thai ginger) or 1/2 T. minced ginger
1-2 jalapenos, thinly sliced, remove seeds and ribs for less heat
4 cups coconut milk
1 pound flank steak, cut thinly against the grain into 2-inch strips
1/4 cup Thai fish sauce (it's stinky but really important)
3 T. brown or palm sugar
1 small Japanese eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium Russet potatoe, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 kaffir lime leaves (in the herb section of your market) or 2 T. lime zest
1/4 cup basil leaves, Thai basil if available

Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 6 minutes. Add the curry paste, galangal or ginger, and jalapeno and saute until very fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Add half of the coconut milk and the beef and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the remaining coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, eggplant, potato, and zucchini and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook, until all ingredients are cooked through and tender but not falling apart,about 20 minutes. Do not let it come to a boil or the coconut milk with separate. If vegetables are not done but liquid is cooking down, add chicken stock or extra coconut milk to keep liquid about 3/4 the way up the vegetables/meat. Stir in the lime leaves and basil, remove from heat and serve immediately. Serve in shallow soup bowls over steamed jasmine rice.

Mmm...that's good!

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