My legs are a bit sore from the triple-workout day-and-a-half I pulled off on Tuesday/Wednesday. It’s a good sore! I like feeling like I accomplished something, and that mild residual soreness 2 days after a tough workout is a great way to know that you’ve put together a solid workout! The keyword, of course, is “mild” when talking about the post-workout soreness – if it’s a sharp soreness, you may have overdone it. To make sure that I’m ready for a great weekend, I’m going to get in a decent workout this evening, and have a great meal when I get in tonight!
What you’ll need:
- Beef and Simple Cilantro Sauce:
- 1 lb Grass-fed Ground Beef
- Italian Seasoning, Salt, and Pepper
- 1 bunch Cilantro, chopped
- 2-3 cloves Garlic
- 1 can Coconut Cream
- 1-inch Ginger
- Sea Salt to taste
- Sauteed Bella Mushrooms:
- 6-8 ounces Crimini Mushrooms (also known as Baby Bella)
- Rosemary (fresh is best, dried will be fine)
- 2 tablespoons Coconut oil
- Bacon Mashed Sweet Potatoes:
- 1/2 lb Bacon, crumbled
- 2 medium Sweet Potatoes
- 1-inch Ginger
- 2 tablespoons Coconut Butter (or 4 tbsp Coconut cream)
Prep and Cook Time: About 1 hour
Serves: 2, with some leftovers
Start with the Sweet Potatoes – they take the longest to cook. Chop these up in to 1/2 cubes, or so, and drop them in a pot to boil. Add water to the pot until it covers the sweet potatoes, then set it to boil. Keep an eye on the pot, and stir it occasionally until the sweet potato chunks start to fall apart in the pot. Hopefully that will start to happen at about 15 minutes before dinner time.
While the potatoes are boiling, make the cilantro sauce. First wash the cilantro – this usually does not come pre-washed, and I think it’s better that way! Next chop the cilantro, garlic, and ginger. Throw it all in a blender with the rest of the ingredients, and blend thoroughly until the color is mostly uniform. Some recipes call for using only the cilantro leaves, but I think the stems have a lot of flavor – so I use the whole bunch. As this is fully blended, give it a taste and decide whether it needs just a bit of salt or not. Remember, though, that you’re also likely to salt the beef while you cook that, so don’t overdo the salt in the sauce! Once this is done and ready, stick it in the refrigerator to cool while you’re making the rest of dinner.
About 20 minutes before the meal, you’ll want to start cooking both the beef, the mushrooms, and the bacon. I hope it’s not necessary to say this, but these should be cooked in different pans. Go ahead and season the beef and mushrooms now too, so that the seasoning has a chance to cook in. I would suggest cooking the bacon on high heat, so that it cooks fast, and gets nice and crispy! I find that crispy bacon is easiest to crumble. And remember to stir the beef and mushrooms regularly. As a note: depending on your stove, you may decide it’s best to cook the beef and mushrooms together. This is a fine, and quite delicious alternative way to make this meal. Some of the time, that’s exactly what I do. But some times I just want to enjoy the singular flavor of the cooked mushrooms – they really can be quite delicious on their own!
Once the beef and bacon are started, it’s time to turn your attention back to the sweet potato mash. At this point, the water should be almost entirely boiled off, and the sweet potatoes should be disintegrating in the pot. If you’ve timed it right, it should be about 15 minutes before dinner time, and the sweet potatoes should be ready for a quick mashing, before being set aside for serving. Add the coconut butter or cream, and start mashing! I always use a hand-masher, but I understand that a food processor works quite well for this too. Don’t forget to stir the beef and mushrooms.
As the bacon is done, pull it out of the pan, dry it on a paper bag, and crumble it. I really like using a paper bag for two reasons. First, a lot of the grocery stores I shop at give them instead of plastic for my groceries, so I always have a few on hand, and I would much prefer to re-use these than to throw away a paper towel! Second, the paper bag is extra convenient because it is strong enough to allow you to use it (getting now three uses out of the same bag!) to crush the bacon after you’ve dried the bacon in the bag. It works great! Give a quick stir to the beef and mushrooms too.
If you’ve timed things right, everything should be finished up at just about the same time! The bacon should be ready to be sprinkled on top of the mashed sweet potatoes. The beef should be just about done, and ready to serve. Serve the mushrooms first, if you did not combine them with the beef. The sweet potato is plated next. If you elected (great for family-style meals) to bring the sweet potato and bacon to the table separately, just make sure that the bacon is sprinkled on top of the sweet potato after serving. Finally, serve the beef, drizzling the cilantro sauce across the top of the beef. This sauce will be delicious with the mushrooms too, so if you have extra, it’s ok to serve a bit on the plate to dip the mushrooms in as you eat them. Or save the extra for a dip and veggies mid-day snack tomorrow!