Serbian Style Beef and Potatoes
Adapted from this recipe
• 3 pounds ground beef
• 3 tablespoons coconut oil (or other fat) May need more
• 1 bag frozen peppers and onion mix
• 3 carrots, grated, or about a cup of grated sweet potato
• 6 celery stalks, chopped, or use roughly 2-3 cups of any combination of fennel, cabbage, and celery. Fennel takes longer to cook, so saute it first.
• 1 tablespoon and 1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
• 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
• 2-1/4 teaspoons black pepper
• 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
• 3 pinches ground cinnamon
• 3 pinches ground cloves
• 3/4 cup water
• 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons red wine
• 3 cubes beef bouillon, or 3 tablespoons beef broth powder, or use a cup of beef broth instead of the red wine and water.
• 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons half-and-half or cream (whipping cream if you’re buying yours from the store)
• 9 red potatoes, peeled and sliced, (Use six potatoes if you’re using russets, and whatever you use, put immediately in ice water once sliced*, so they don’t turn gray)
• Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a large and deep casserole dish (the white one, or two 9 X 13 dishes)
Grate your carrot or sweet potato, set aside.You can just set them on a bit of waxed paper, saran wrap, or your cutting board.
Chop the celery (and fennel and cabbage, if using), set aside as above.
Scrub potatoes, put through the food processor on the thin slice blade. Set the bowl of the food processor near your other vegetables, and fill it with enough ice water to cover the potatoes. This is to keep them crisp and to stop the oxidization that turns them grey.
• In a deep pan brown the ground beef over medium heat, sprinkling lightly with a bit of onion powder and pepper.You might need to add some oil if your beef is grass fed. Remove beef from pan, and set aside. Leave any fat from the beef in the pan. Mix in the coconut oil, and saute the peppers, onion, carrot, and celery until crisp-tender and shiny. If you’re using fennel, add the fennel and onion first, then after about a minute or two, add the carrot, and after another minute add the remaining vegetables.
• Return beef to the pan, and stir in the spices and herbs. Stir in the water and red wine or broth until heated through. Dissolve the beef bouillon cube or broth powder into the mixture if you used red wine instead of broth. Remove skillet from heat, and mix in the half-and-half or cream. Mixture should not be too watery or too dry.=)
• Cover the bottom of the oiled casserole pans with a layer of sliced potatoes. Spread the beef and vegetable mixture over the potatoes, and top with remaining potatoes. If there aren’t enough sliced potatoes left to cover the top, slice some more. Dot the potatoes with a bit of butter or ghee, sprinkle with paprika.Cover pan with foil, or put a cookie sheet over it for a lid.
• Cook, covered, 40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the potatoes are tender. Remove foil, bake another ten minutes or so, just until the potatoes are golden around the edges.
Serve with a leafy salad, applesauce or canned pears, and a hearty pumpernickel bread.
(we made two large pans of this, served 11 adults healthy servings,including seconds and thirds for a couple of them, and had a full pan leftover. It isn’t pretty, but it is tasty.
We served it with a salad made of fennel, snow peas, and an oil and lemon juice dressing, home-made cottage cheese dill bread, pickles and olives.