I tend to incorporate garlic into my recipes quite often. Whether garlic is in a salad dressing or stir-fry, pasta sauce or stew, I find its essence does wonders in enhancing a recipe’s overall flavor.
While I’m personally a lover of most things garlic infused, there are many individuals who are not so fond of the distinct flavor or its impact on the digestive system.
The past few weeks I’ve found myself swapping out garlic for these beautiful shallots, one of its relatives that is too a member of the allium family.
Shallots tend to offer a flavor that reflects both onions and garlic, with slightly more onion presence than garlic.
Shallots can range from milder to quite spicy. They’re not hot chili pepper spicy, but they’re more of just a robust bite that can usually be noticed upon the first slice through the flesh as the aroma is released.
The stronger flavored shallots, such as the ones I’ve encountered recently, are ideal for caramelizing in a pan, roasting after peeled and either left whole or halved in the oven, or when smoked on a grill. They are also a nice addition to salad dressing when either minced or cut into very thin rounds.
The olive oil and vinegar or citrus juices can greatly assist in mellowing out the more potent specimens in dressings.
This week I prepared a sautéed shallot dish with local farmers’ market bought ground beef, fresh carrots, and green beans. Additionally infused with chili powder, salt, and oregano, this can be enjoyed as a complete meal on its own or served with a side of steamed rice.
I like to garnish my final dish with some fresh cilantro and possibly diced tomatoes just before serving but can simply be enjoyed without.
Shallot infused ground beef with carrots and beans
5 shallots, peeled and ends trimmed
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 pound fresh green beans, trimmed (can cut in half if large)
1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water or broth (low sodium)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Optional: garnish with diced tomatoes and chopped cilantro leaves
I like my shallots to be in larger pieces, about 1 inch long and a half inch thick. They often just break into sections about this size once peeled, or can be cut into desired size.
In a large pan add about 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil and turn to medium-high heat. Add shallots and carrots and sauté for about 5 minutes. Then add green beans and sauté for another two minutes.
Push ingredients to one edge of the pan and add ground beef.
Sauté for a few minutes to brown and break apart. Then toss with shallot mixture. Add chili powder and salt and mix well. Then add liquid and cover, reducing to a low simmer.
Summer for about 15 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. Toss before serving.
Yield: Serves about 4.