I’ve spent a lot of years in the kitchen, and my husband has spent a lot of years giving me specific and honest feedback about what my kitchen produces.
So I can say with confidence that my juicy grilled burger topped with caramelized onions and bleu cheese is delightful, and my meatballs rival anything you can get on The Hill here in Saint Louis. But I’m still always looking for new recipes to make a dent in my freezer full of ground beef (we buy half a cow at a time), and this Keema is my new favorite! I love Indian flavors, I love that the veggies really add to the meal (instead of being the veggie afterthought that ruins so many good dishes), and I love that all of my children devour this with no complaints.
The few Keema recipes I’ve seen call for white potatoes but I opted for butternut squash and it is so much better that way! The sweetness and the color really add to the overall deliciousness.
- If you’re a grain-eating family, serve this over rice or quinoa. We’ve also had it over sprouted mung beans, lentils, or just by itself as a stew.
- Penzeys Maharajah Curry Powder and Penzeys or McCormick Garam Masala are my favorites for this recipe, but choose whatever brands you like – any yellow or sweet curry powder should work.
- It looks like a lot of spice, but this recipe is definitely a mild and sweet curry. Feel free to adjust the spices to your liking, adding some more curry, garam masala or some cayenne or other pepper if you want it hotter.
- Don’t bother taking the time to pick all the cilantro leaves off the stem; the stems are just as sweet and flavorful as the leaves. Simply chop the bunch down to the lowermost leaf, then discard the tough bottoms of the stems. (But don’t try that with parsley. Parsley has bitter stems.)
- If you’re one of those people that thinks you don’t like cilantro, please just try it here. Please.
- If you have any family members that are finicky about chunky tomatoes in their sauce (raising my hand), zip the tomatoes with a stick blender before adding them to the pot.
- The recipe as written below makes enough to feed dinner to my family of 5 eaters, with usually enough left over for lunch the next day. But we eat a ton, so… this could probably feed 8 to 10? I usually double the recipe below and put half away in the freezer for an emergency (or lazy day) meal. But you need a really big pot to do that.
- I try to use grass fed beef, organic veggies, and chicken broth made at home from the bones (so it’s nice and gelatin-y). Use what you can get, but starting with high quality ingredients makes a big difference in any recipe!
Keema Beef Curry
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 giant or 2 small/medium onions, diced (purple or yellow – I usually use a combination)
- 4 -5 garlic cloves, minced or run over a microplane
- A 1 – 2 inch chunk of fresh ginger root, peeled and minced or microplaned
- 1 tablespoon Maharajah curry powder
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1 small to medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into about 1-inch cubes
- 1 can (14-ounce) full fat coconut milk
- 1 can (14- or 15-ounce) diced or crushed tomatoes, drained
- 1/2 cup chicken broth (turkey, lamb, or beef broth also works)
- 1 cup baby peas (frozen is fine)
- 1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Brown ground beef in a large dutch oven. Try to leave larger chunks as it is browning as opposed to smooshing it all to tiny bits like you do for tacos (unless that’s just me). When just cooked through, remove ground beef to a bowl.
- Return 1 or 2 tablespoons of the beef fat back to the now empty dutch oven over medium heat (if your beef was very lean, use a tablespoon or two of butter or lard). When hot, add diced onions and about 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Saute onions, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.
- Move the onions to the sides of the pot and add another tablespoon of fat or butter to the center if the pot is dry. Add garlic, ginger, curry powder, and garam masala to the center of the pot and cook, stirring , until fragrant, about a minute or two, then stir everything into the onions. Add the butternut squash and stir so it is coated with the onions and spices.
- Stir in the broth and scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Stir in coconut milk and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover pot, and continue to simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a sharp knife, about 20 minutes, stirring once or twice to make sure things aren’t sticking to the bottom.
- If the sauce is too watery for you, remove the lid and continue to simmer until it reduces a bit. Add peas and ground beef and cook until warmed through, about five minutes. Add chopped cilantro. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed (I usually add quite a bit more salt at this point).
- Serve over quinoa, rice, beans, or lentils, or alone as a stew.
This keeps for at least a week and reheats well in a saucepan. Add a splash of broth when reheating if it looks dry, and top with a little fresh cilantro. It also freezes well!
Quality ground beef is an economical source of good protein but it doesn’t mean you have to have hamburger helper and meatloaf every week. This Keema gives you a flavorful, nourishing ground beef option, and also works well for GAPS, Paleo, and Traditional menus (except for maybe the peas – not sure how all those diets feel about peas). My 2-, 4-, and 6-year olds always go back for seconds (we’ve outlawed “thirds” in our house!). I hope your family enjoys it as much!