I love big meals with complicated ingredients, difficult dishes, multiple courses. At least, in theory I do. In practice, I could call elaborate meals to be a hobby or even an indulgence. I indulge in big elaborate meals from time to time as a way of either sharing my food (party, anyone?), rewarding myself, or as a weekend hobby. But not every meal should be an elaborate affair, even in my kitchen. That’s not to say that they shouldn’t all be top-quality, delicious meals. Because they should! Just that I don’t usually want a huge elaborate meal. Most meals I actually desire something more simple, with simple ingredients, and bold simple flavors. And this meal is a perfect example! Take a look at this ingredients list, and tell me if it could be any more simple?
- 1 Pound Beef Stew Meat
- Salt/Pepper as needed
- 2 Large Ripe Plantains
- 3 Large Carrots
- 1 Avocado
Prep and cook time: 25 minutes
Start with the plantains and carrots. First pre-heat the oven to 425. The plantains and carrots take the longest to cook, so they’ll need to be started first. Cut them in to longer pieces. I prefer a diagonal cut on the carrots and plantains so that each slice will have more volume, and more importantly, more surface area. This decreases the cook time, and I actually like my food to be larger than singe-bite sized pieces. Though it turns out, I am quite satisfied with 2-bite sized pieces. Once the plantains and carrots are cut, grease a baking pan with a very thin layer of coconut oil. Now lay the carrots and plantains out on the baking pan (you may need a second pan) making sure that they are well spread out. Put these in the oven as soon as they are on the pan, there is no need to wait for the oven to hit temperature.
As soon as the plantains and carrots are in the oven, start the steak. As usual, I prefer to cook my steak in a frying pan on medium-low heat, covered. This will cook fairly quickly because the steak is cut up “stew meat” style, so the chunks have a greater access to the heat. This is good, because it means that the meal will be done sooner! It also means that you can cook on a slightly lower heat setting, ending up with a slightly juicier meal! I love a juicy steak.
Once the plantains and carrots have been in the oven for 12-13 minutes, flip them all over to expose both sides to the heat. Don’t worry if the first side doesn’t look “done” yet. The nice thing about sweet plantains and carrots is that they’re both edible raw (and quite tasty), so cooking them only serves to alter the flavor and texture to suit a particular dish. Obviously, in this meal I elected for the cooked versions! Also, since the first side was exposed to the oil, and we’re using the oven, the first side will continue to cook, resulting in a nicely browned final version.
Once you’ve flipped the plantains and carrots, uncover the steak and turn the heat up to high. There should be quite a bit of water/juice in the pan at this point, and we want to give the steak a chance to cook that off. This should take 2-3 minutes. Once done, turn the heat back down, and recover the pan for another 3-5 minutes, stirring the steak regularly to ensure that each side is slightly browned.
Take the plantains and carrots out at approximately 20 minutes of bake time. This is not a hard and fast rule, so here is how I measure: when the steak is done, I turn it off, leave it covered, and cut up the avocado. Once the avocado is cut up and plated, then I take the plantains and carrots out. Again, don’t worry about the cook time too much, these have a very high tolerance for longer cook times: I have left them in for as long as 45 minutes and still been quite satisfied with the results.
Put the avocado on the plate first, then the plantains and carrots, and finally the steak. This meal is very time-tolerant, so if the table isn’t ready yet, just pop the finished meal dish in the oven while the table is set, and whomever is eating takes their seats. Obviously, only put the dish in the oven if you’re using oven-safe plates. It should be off at this point, but it will still be hot! And finally: Enjoy!
I am considering making a video-blog post for some of my simpler meals, perhaps as a once-per-week “What’s For Dinner?” Video Blog. I would really like to hear whether you all would enjoy that. So, in the comments board let me know if you’re interested in a Video Blog Post!