Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Crisper Drawer

Alternate title: We named the dog Indiana.

My normal fare is chicken or pork, but having recently partaken of dead cow I’ve reawakened my appetite for red meat. We had a large, somewhat frostbitten slab o’ beef in the freezer, and I felt that it was my duty to rescue and consume it.

I didn’t have anything particular in mind, so I went on a fact-finding mission in the refrigerator. I discovered half of an onion, about 2/3 of a large tomato, 3 strips of leftover bacon, about 1/4 cup leftover chopped scallions, 1 green bell pepper, a few heads of broccoli, and carrots out the wazoo. (Albertson’s had them on sale 2lbs for $2, so we stocked up. I use them all the time.) I also used some fresh parsley and the bacon drippings from the night before.

Put them together and what do you get? I dunno, but it’s something vaguely beef stewish.

Got the bacon grease going in a pan over med-high heat. While that was preheating, I trimmed and sliced the beef, making 1/4" thick, essentially rectangular slices. Once the meat was cut up, I sprinkled kosher salt over the pile and started searing the beef. I had to do it in three batches so the pan wouldn’t lose its heat. I let the beef sear for 1-2 minutes on each side, which cooked it medium-well. Removed beef from the pan and set it aside in a covered bowl, saving the grease.

Let the pan heat again, and added the carrots (which I had rough-cut into fairly thick carrot sticks.) I let them sit for a bit to sear, then began stirring to get up all the crunchy bits left by the beef. In with the diced onion, stir, and let it sit.

At this point I started my rice. Uncle Ben’s was on sale, and we’re out of basmati. I’m not happy about that, but I make do. 1 cup of rice to 1 cup chicken brother and 1/2 cup water. That makes 4 servings (2 in my family), so modify accordingly. Added a few tsp of butter, a dash of garlic powder, and a good bit of salt. Covered and brought to boil, stirring periodically. Should be done in 20-25 minutes.

I added the tomato to the sautee pan, roughly chopped, and stirred it into the carrots and onions. I’d removed the seeds and squishy bits. My intention was for it to break down into something resembling a tomato sauce, except it would be edible. Most tomato sauces, in my opinion, are evil. Continued with the cooking of veggie bits, now adding the green pepper, about 1/3 cup of chicken broth, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, thyme, and (eventually) the lid to the pan.

With 7 minutes left for the rice, I started simmering some chicken broth in a separate pot. To that I added my broccoli (2 heads, separated into florets) and a little salt. Stir to coat, then cover to steam broccoli.

5 minutes left, so I uncovered my sautee pan and threw in the scallions and bacon (cut up into small pieces). Stirred that around a bit, then pushed all the veggie matter off to the sides of the pan. Into the liquidy center I pour a 40/60 mixture of flour and water, stirring to incorporate it. Let it bubble and thicken for a few minutes, still stirring, then added back the beef, stirred it all together, and took the pan off the heat. (For mom’s sake I picked out the green peppers. I left the pieces large because, although she likes the flavor, she can’t eat the pepper itself.)

Checked on the broccoli. It was nicely done, so I poured the little bit of chicken broth into the sautee pan and stirred it into the stewishness that was already there. Removed broccoli from heat, let it sit covered while I fluffed the now-done rice.

And that’s it. I spooned rice into each bowl, ladled the stewy mess over it, and topped it all with broccoli. It was rich and filling, but it was also mostly vegetables. I can’t claim that it’s healthy, but every once in a while this stuff is great. The only bad-for-you parts would be the bacon grease and possibly the can of chicken broth.