So many things have snuck up on me in 2019. Seasons and deadlines have come and gone, and unfinished to-do lists loom on the horizon. I can’t believe it’s been since January that I’ve posted here, but I have had a fairly good and distracting reason in addition to the boatload of work that’s been on my plate:
We’re expecting a baby girl in about a month! As you can imagine, it’s a very exciting (and super-pregnant) time in the Morante household.
While I wouldn’t say we’re in full nesting mode, I’m decidedly in full nourishment mode, cooking hearty, wholesome dishes as the weather has turned from gloriously sunny summer back to our usual scheduled programming for PDX: cloudy and wet.
I’m using my Instant Pot for lots of recipes, of course, and also pulling out my favorite pots and pans. Most of my stovetop and oven cookware has gone unused while I finished writing my 4th and 5th (!!!) Instant Pot cookbooks this year. While I love the convenience of the IP, there’s something very comforting about cooking in sturdy, enameled cast-iron, too.
Speaking of cast iron, last week Le Creuset debuted a brand new addition to their cookware line: the Cast Iron Rice Pot. They kindly sent over one of these adorable pieces for me to review, and so far I am loving it. The high-walled little pot comes with an inner stoneware lid that’s equipped with a couple of holes. Between the shape of the pot and the failsafe inner lid, it’s virtually boil-over proof. It’s just the right capacity for cooking 1 or 1 ½ cups of rice or other grains, the perfect amount for our family of two (and soon to be three).
This week, I had a hankering for spicy, savory, Indian-inspired dishes. I simmered a batch of my go-to red lentil dal (except this time I cooked the dal in the Instant Pot while sautéing everything else in a skillet), and the package of ground beef in my fridge inspired me to come up with a recipe for another Indian favorite: Keema Aloo Mattar.
This mixture of spiced ground meat (you can use beef or lamb), potatoes, and peas can be enjoyed on its own or over rice (or for Brendan, cauliflower rice — he can’t get enough of the stuff so we always have a few bags on hand in the freezer). It’s a protein-packed dish and fits into many diets, whether you’re eating gluten-free, dairy-free, or nut-free. You can control the level of spice by increasing or omitting the cayenne pepper, too. With the recommended ½ teaspoon, it’s medium-spicy, and the heat mellows a bit when it’s reheated the next day.
In the spirit of egalitarian cookware use, I’ve included instructions for either an Instant Pot or large skillet. However you make it, I hope you enjoy it!
Instant Pot (or skillet) Indian-Spiced Ground Beef, Potatoes, & Peas a.k.a. Keema Aloo Mattar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger peeled and minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 bunch green onions chopped
- 1 pound 85% lean ground beef grass fed
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 medium carrots peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- Instant Pot instructions: Select the Sauté setting on the Instant Pot and heat the oil and cumin seeds for about 2 minutes, until the seeds are bubbling and fragrant. Add the ginger, garlic, and green onions and saute until the onions are beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef, salt, garam masala, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne, and sauté until cooked through, breaking up the meat with a spatula as it cooks, about 6 minutes.
- Add the potatoes, carrots, peas, and water and stir to combine. Add the tomato paste in a dollop on top -- do not stir it in.
- Secure the lid in the Sealing position. Press Cancel to reset the cooking program, then select the Pressure Cook or Manual setting and set the cooking time for 2 minutes at high pressure. (The pot will take about 10 minutes to come up to pressure before the cooking program begins.)
- When the cooking program ends, perform a quick release by moving the Pressure Release to Venting, or let the pressure release naturally. Open the pot and give everything a good stir to incorporate the tomato paste.
- At this point, you can serve the dish right away, or for a more concentrated flavor, reduce the liquid: Press Cancel to reset the cooking program once more, then select the Sauté setting and let the dish simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Press Cancel one last time to turn off the pot.
- Serve hot, over rice.