I’ve just had a look back at the recipes I’ve posted here in the last 6 months, and about 50% of them call for garlic and chilli in some form. Typically it’s chopped fresh chilli or garlic, but sometimes it’s chilli powder or dried chilli flakes.
And that’s just the recipes I’ve posted here! The rest of the food that comes out of my kitchen, the food that isn’t exciting enough to post about here (or that I was too lazy to take a picture of) usually contains some garlic and chilli as well. I’m sensing a pattern here.
My lovely husband often says that I would put garlic in birthday cake if he didn’t stop me. Whilst I don’t think I’m quite that bad, I would estimate that approximately 80% of the dinners that I make begin with me chopping some garlic and a chilli. Garlic + Chilli = Happy SarahKate.
And I know that I’m not alone in this minor obsession with the delicious outcomes that garlic and chilli can produce. In fact, I’ve interviewed several of my friends, and they too begin most meals with some garlic and chilli chopping action. And some of my favourite world cuisines rely heavily on the happy marriage of garlic and chilli- Thai food, Chinese food and Italian food are good examples.
All of this is a long way of saying that this recipe, the second in my series of Recession Busters, is not unusual for me or for this website. This recipe begins with plenty of chopped fresh garlic and chilli and ends with crunchy capsicum and yielding chickpeas being stirred into a fiery sauce of tomatoes, beef and onions. In short, it is classic Abercrombie and Feast fare.
I won’t tell you that this meal is quick. Because it relies on a cheaper cut of beef, it does take some cooking time. However, you can easily assemble it on a rainy afternoon, as I recently did, or in a Crockpot on your counter whilst you’re at work. This recipe requires very little in the way of prep time and almost no active time once you have it in the pot. And while the casserole is simmering away, you can go out and do something fun with the money you’ve saved by making this for dinner!
Spicy beef casserole with chickpeas
(I am oh so sorry that there is no picture of this meal. I have been suffering from a terrible throat infection this week and I was not up to taking pictures. But, in the words of my husband, “It sounds so good, who needs a picture?” I think he was just trying to cheer me up!)
AU$3.79 per person
450g gravy beef cut into bite sized pieces (you could also use rump steak or stewing beef- whatever your butcher has on hand)
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 long red chillis, finely chopped (remove the seeds if you want a milder dish)
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger*
1 tsp ground coriander*
1 tsp ground cumin or cumin seeds*
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 cup beef broth or water
1 green capsicum (bell pepper), chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Place a large, heavy pot over medium / low heat. Add the vegetable oil and allow to warm up for a few mins. Then add the onion and stir briefly. Let the onion cook for about 5 mins, or until softened. Then add the garlic and chilli. Stir for 2 minutes.
Add the ginger, coriander and cumin. Stir for a minute until the spices are fragrant. It will be dry, but that’s ok.
Add the beef to the spices and onion mixture. Allow the beef to brown for a few minutes, stirring often so it doesn’t stick too much.
Once the beef is browned on all sides, add the tomatoes and their juices to the pot. Then add the beef broth. Stir well and put the top on the pot. Allow to simmer for at least 2 hours. Stir occasionally if you want.
Once the meat has simmered for 2 hours, it should be soft and tender. At this point, add the capsicum and chickpeas to the pot. Stir and let simmer for another 30 mins.
We served this over mashed potato. If you do this, add another AU$0.40 to each serving cost. If you want to avoid the extra cost, this would be lovely on its own, or over rice, which is cheaper.
*I have ground ginger, coriander and cumin already in my kitchen and I didn’t know how to figure out the cost of 1tsp of a AU$2.50 bottle of spice mix. So… I left those out of the equation. Obviously, if you have to buy those spices, this will be more expensive. However, you could leave them out and get a dinner that is just as good- it would just be different. If you do leave these spices out, increase the amount of black pepper you add and consider stirring in some other spices that you might have to hand. Cayenne pepper and Cajun seasoning would both be good replacements.