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A HEALTHY RICE AND BEEF CASSEROLE

My garden is exploding with Lambs quarter or as some call it:  a weed, or poor man’s spinach.  Whatever you like to call it is okay by me – I love this healthy green. Late May and June are the best months in my region to harvest young fresh Lambs Quarter Greens.  Although having said that, we are at least 5-6 weeks behind this year in the garden, so I suspect there will still be more Lambs Quarter to harvest for at least another 3 weeks. (this is just one small section of the fast growing Lambs Quarter).

If you do not have Lambs quarter, spinach or kale would work nicely in this recipe.  Also, free range ground Turkey or Chicken would be heavenly in this dish (wish I had some!)

If you would like to learn more about Lambs quarter, here is a good site with information on this healthy naturally growing green.

The best way I can describe the flavor of this lovely green is: rich, meaty, ever so slightly salty.  You know how a mushroom takes on a meaty beefy flavor when sauted?  Lambs Quarter has a similar richness.  For me, Lambs Quarter is right up there with fresh local Asparagus.  It makes me a very happy girl! :)

I used 5 cups of Lambs quarter in this recipe which was fairly packed down:

1 lb. lean hormone/antibiotic ground beef

3/4 cup white Basmati rice (rinse and drain well)

1 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes (squeeze out the juice from the tomatoes slice into chunks and put into a bowl, reserving the liquid)

1 onion diced

5 minced garlic cloves

5 crimini mushrooms, chopped

1/2 cup beef stock

2 1/4 cups reserved tomato juice

2 rounded Tblsp. fresh Basil – minced

3 tsp. Sweet Basil Chili Paste (or Red Thai Curry Paste) I used this one

2 tsp. dried Oregano

salt and pepper

4-5 cups Lambs quarter or spinach or kale

grated aged cheddar cheese

(at the end of the cooking time for the rice – my mixture looked a bit thick – so I added 1 Tblsp. Tomato paste mixed in 1/2 a cup of water – then I mixed that into the ingredients.)

Heat up a frying pan or dutch oven on low/medium heat.  Add in the ground beef breaking it up, and sauteing until browned.  I did drain off about half of the renderings.

To the pan add in the mushrooms, onions and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper, sauteing to sweat out the onions – 5-7 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes, minced fresh basil, chili paste stirring to combine.Pour in the beef stock and reserved tomato juice again stirring to combine.

Then add in the rice, stirring to combine.  Add in the Lambs quarter or spinach stirring well, then cover with a lid.  It will look like too much, but it will cook down.

This is about 5-7 minutes after simmering – the Lambs quarter cooked down quite a bit:

Keep a lid on, and a light simmer for about 20-25 minutes stirring twice during the cooking time.  Mine did look a bit thick so this is where I added 1 Tblsp. of tomato paste mixed with half a cup of water.  Pour over the beef and rice stirring well to combine.  Transfer to a casserole dish.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Add a generous layer of aged Cheddar Cheese over top of the casserole, then cover with aluminum foil.  Bake 30-40 minutes to heat through and melt the cheese.

2 comments to A HEALTHY RICE AND BEEF CASSEROLE

  • I think we talked about this green last gardening season. I have never tried Lamb’s Quarter (or even seen it around here for that matter), but it sounds great! This is one of your many recipes that Mr. GFE would love, Ina. Beef, rice, mushrooms, cheese … it’s got it all! ;-)

    Shirley

  • Ina

    Yes Shirley, we did talk about Lambs Quarter. Sounds like Mr. GFE likes his comfort food as much as we do! :)

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