British-Mexican fusion comfort food!
This made a wonderfully colourful and eclectic meal that combines a classic British beef, onions and gravy dish with a traditional Mexican side dish and a psychedelic mash! The flavours were a perfect complement to each other, my hubby said that it was just like food he grew up eating, (apart from the potatoes weren’t usually pink), and funnily enough me too, except for the cactus salad, well my mum never put beetroot in the mash either but it just goes to show that mince beef and potatoes are internationally comforting!
So this is what we had the Ensalada de Nopales with that my hubby made the other day. It was a random end of the week meal made with what was left in the fridge, which was rather bare. There were potatoes but not enough for mash for all 3 of us (now we are 3, my husbands 8 year old son is with us for the summer holidays 🙂 ), a beetroot, onion, garlic, a couple of mushies, a bit of an orange pepper and some mince meat. I thought about doing a kind of chilli beef using beetroot instead of beans, served with rice and the Nopal Salad, or this meal, I couldn’t decide so I gave the options to my hubby he picked Beef in Gravy with Mash, so that’s what I did.
Mince Beef with Onion & Mushrooms in Gravy:
This is one of my fave comfort foods, it just tastes like home.. especially seeing as I get whoever I can to send me a supply of Oxo cubes (I know.. I don’t usually like to use pre-made, packaged stuff but this is one of the exceptions..). Oxos are one of the first on the list of many (obligatory) food items (gifts) that anyone visiting from the UK has to bring with them, as you can imagine there is no other way to have them if you live in Manzanillo!
250g mince beef
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
4 mushrooms, chopped
2 Oxo cubes or beef stock cubes
1 tbsp olive oil
splash of Jugo Maggi or soy sauce
1. Put beef in a frying pan (no need for oil) over med-high heat, stirring so that it heats evenly. Just before it has turned completely brown crumble the Oxo cubes or whatever beef cubes* you are using over the meat, mix in while allowing the meat to cook a minute or so longer. Then take it out of the pan and leave it to one side for now.
*If you are using the kind of cubes that need to be dissolved in water then wait until step 4 and just dissolve the cubes in the water before adding it. Although personally I think it gives a better flavour to the meat if it is seasoned at this stage.
2. Put the pan back on the heat and add 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil, let it warm for 10-15 seconds then add the onion and garlic and cook them a couple of minutes until the onions become translucent.
3. Throw in the mushrooms and let it all cook a minute or two before adding the meat. Season with plenty of black pepper and salt and a splash of Jugo Maggi, or soy sauce. I add a splash of Piloncillo Syrup to this too.
4. Now is the moment to add the water so if you are using soluble cubes now is the time to dissolve them in hot water and pour in, if you used Oxos then just add the plain water. Adjust the seasoning as necessary, cover and turn down to a low heat so it is just bubbling, you don’t want to lose all the juice. Let it cook 10-15 mins or so, you can take the lid off near the end if you want it a bit thicker, with less gravy. Once its ready just keep it covered to keep it warm and keep the juices in until you are ready to serve.
Potato and Beetroot Mash:
I love mashed potato, who doesn’t? My Grandad used to make the best mash ever, with plenty of pepper and it was always so light and creamy. Quite often when I make mash I stick some other random veggies in, but I’ve never had such a dramatic and striking looking mash as this one!
2 medium-large potatoes cut into medium sized cubes
1 large beetroot, cut into small-medium sized cubes
1 clove garlic, minced
yoghurt or butter/cream/milk
Serves 3 as a side dish
1. Put the cubes of potato and beetroot into a pot of salted boiling water, bring back to the boil then cover and turn down to a rolling boil. Cook 15-20 mins or until the beets are soft. They take a bit longer to cook than potato so that’s why its better to cut them slightly smaller.
2. Once cooked, remove from the heat, drain and put back into the pot. Add a dollop of yoghurt (which is what I used) or butter, milk or cream or any combo of those things, season with salt and pepper and throw in the garlic. Mash away until your pink purée is the consistency you like it, if you want it smoother and creamier add more yoghurt, butter or milk. Check the seasoning before serving as a side dish.
Click here for the recipe for: Ensalada de Nopal or Nopal Salad
Serve with warm corn tortillas or fresh bread, salsa and I like a bit of yoghurt on mine.