Minced Beef with Vegetables a la Dominicana is a dish that can be adapted in many ways, and it is as loaded with vegetables as it is with flavor.
Finishing this Minced Beef with Vegetables before my daughter returned from school brought a thought to my mind: I am one generation removed from farmers, and the life I live would definitely qualify me as "stinking rich" in my ancestors' eyes.
This shouldn't surprise anyone, but the food we eat today, our comfort food, the food we love most, is most probably the kind of food that a poor peasant created at some point to feed her family. From the French bouillabaisse, made by poor fishermen's wives with the fish they kept after a day's sale, to the Brazilian feijoada, a black bean stew with the bits of pork the slavemasters deemed too disgusting to eat, and were passed down to the slaves. Today these dishes are iconic, served with pomp and ceremony at fancy restaurants the world over -- after getting rid of the cheap fish and "disgusting" bits of pork, of course.
Making the most out of little
Many a great Dominican dish -- if not most -- has been born out scarcity and poverty. The art of "rendir", to bulk out, to stretch meals, has been ingrained in our way of cooking. Adding vegetables to meat dishes is a greatly cherished tradition in our country, even after we get past the need to stretch our budget to feed an enormous family. It became a tradition, and ironically, it's probably the best thing we could do for our health.
About our recipe
Minced beef with vegetables is a dish that we cook often at home. We serve it as a quasi-stew, with just a bit of rice, or leave the potatoes out and top some boiled pasta with it, or cut down on the vegetables for a more meat-heavy dish. Any leftovers will find their way into soups, or as a filling for empanadas. It really is a poor man's dish: simple, flavorful, comforting, versatile, inexpensive.
Minced Beef with Vegetables a la Dominicana Recipe
- 1 ½ lb [0.7 kg] of lean minced beef
- 1 ½ teaspoon of salt , or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon of pepper
- 2 tablespoons of oil for frying
- 1 large white onion , diced
- 3 cloves of garlic , chopped
- ¾ cup of tomato sauce
- 1 ½ cups of water
- 1 large carrot , peeled and diced
- ¾ lb [0.35 kg] of waxy potatoes , diced
- 1 stalk of celery (with leaves), chopped
- 1 red bell pepper
- ½ tablespoon of hot sauce , or to taste
- 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
- Season meat with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add meat and cook and stir until all the liquid has evaporated and meat is browned.
- Add onion and garlic, and cook stirring until they have heated through.
- Stir in tomato sauce and water. Lower heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer until it breaks the boil (5-7 min).
- Mix in potato and carrot. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, adding water as it becomes necessary to maintain the same level.
- Add bell pepper and celery, Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, adding water as it becomes necessary to maintain the same level.
- Season with hot sauce and salt to taste. Mix in the parsley and remove from the heat.