Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tight-Arse Tuesdays - Moroccan Beef and Lentil Stew

Saving for a wedding is quite difficult and, as foodies, can be devastating to find out the only place you can cut back on your spending is food. For us, food is a major part of our lives. I don't even make a point to buy many snacks.
For a couple weeks the most snacks in my cupboard were a packet of Poptarts that said "Do Not Eat" in Post-its and two packets of chips, which my flatmate ate anyway. So obviously it's not prepackaged food I'm buying too much of.
Simply put, it's the meat I eat, the sauces I like and the fresh fruit and vegetables I buy by the kilo a week. That being said, I still need to figure out meals I can make that are both thrifty and filling.
Lentils are an amazingly cheap resource. Probably cheaper than where I get them, as well, which is the local grocery store. As it is, I think this entire meal cost me no more than Twenty Dollars including two loaves of bread and pre-made hummus and it feeds roughly 8 servings. So.. four hungry people. Or two full-grown men who have built a house.

Moroccan Beef and Lentil Stew
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, diced
500g chuck steak
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon cumin, ground
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 tsp cinnamon, smoked paprika (honestly I put a tablespoon of this in), and turmeric
1 tsp chilli flakes
pinch saffron
2 carrots, diced
400g fresh diced tomatoes
2 cups lentils (I used green)
8 cups water
S&P to taste

Honestly, there's a million directions in this recipe and I didn't care. Not only did I not have pumpkin which it asked for, I hate celery in soup, so I didn't use it (and thus didn't include it in the ingredients). The original recipe didn't have meat and used tinned tomatoes. As I was preparing the dish, I discovered my fiancee had used ALL the tinned tomatoes in last night's disaster of a pasta dish he called spaghetti.

80% of recipes will tell you to brown meat before throwing it in a crockpot. Ever tried it? Ever tried not doing it? Newsflash: IT TASTES, FEELS AND LOOKS EXACTLY THE SAME. No need to ever bother with it.

So what do I say? Throw EVERYTHING in the crockpot, as is. Just dump everything in. Takes less time than dumping a body, I promise. Set to high for four to six hours. DONE! Then hide the crockpot, tell your husband you spent all day slaving over it and get him to give you a foot massage!

Served with hummus, Aussie Outback dukkah in olive oil, garlic white bread and whole grain seed bread, lightly toasted.


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