Foodie to Foodstamps Day 2: Dealing with 85% Lean Ground Beef

September 29 2010 - 6:13 PM

What I figured out today was that it’s impossible to manage food outside of the home. I have plenty of options and quantity at home but even when I bring what I thought was an overlarge portion to the office, around 4pm I am famished again. My secret weapon is apples. The bag of Michigan apples is perfect. They’re small and very sweet and that means they’re a good, self contained, snack. I’m about to go for a run so I ate a couple and had a glass of water. Tonight I’m having pasta with meat sauce. Here’s the recipe and a couple of tricks.

If you’re on a budget you scrutinize the lean-ness of your ground. 85% is not too lean (23 grams of fat…). Fortunately you can take much of that fat out when you cook it. Season your beef raw- I’m stuck with salt and pepper and frankly that’s not too bad. Dicing up an onion or two will add some volume and flavor. If you’re going for a structured meat gonfiabili thing add an egg. If you’re doing a meat loaf or meatballs, you may want to get a leaner ground since you can’t drain it as well.

Once your ground is seasoned, onion maybe… no egg in this case, put it in a large saute pan and start to brown it. No fat is needed in the pan (we’re removing, not adding!) A dash of hot sauce may be nice here… up to the individual. A large saute is better since you can press the meat to the side and with a spoon simply start bailing fat! for a pound you should get about a cup of fat off of your beef. Pressing it while it’s very hot and the fat is very much a liquid makes for easier draining. Tilt your pan… it’s really simple and while it’s an extra step, you can get plenty off the meat.

Now for another optional part… paper towels and a rinse. While I wouldn’t say that pressing in paper towels is a bad idea, I can’t really dig rinsing my meat in the sink. I’m not sure it’s worth the extra % considering you’re washing away some pan flavor. Thinking about how it’s not possible to rinse grease off of frankly anything makes me wonder if it does any good at all.

Anyway… once you have the meat drained to your satisfaction, stir in 2 tablespoons of tomato paste or a can or two of tomato sauce. I really didn’t have anything else to add here other than more hot sauce but at this point you should have an average meat sauce. If you plan better you can add green peppers or mushrooms.

When you’re adding your pasta, remove from the pot very al dente and finish cooking it in the sauce.

This may be the most basic recipe ever, not sure it’s worth posting but it’s what I’m eating tonight!