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Aug 8, 2014 03:20 PM

Need new flavor profile for old, favorite recipe

For years, one of my staple recipes has been a stew/chili type dish that I love. I vary it a bit sometimes (adding mirepoix instead of just onion, for example) but the basic ingredients are:

1- Grass-fed ground beef (2 lbs, +/-)
2- Grass-fed calves liver (8 oz)
3- Canned tomatoes (42 oz), tomato sauce (8 oz), tomato paste (3 oz)
4- onion
5- garlic
6- chili powder (1/4 cup ++)
7 - cocoa powder (1 TB +)
8 - cinnamon (1/2 tsp)
9 - oregano (2 tsp)
10-cumin (2 tsp)
11- bay leaf (one or two)
12- broth to thin

I LOVE these flavors and the nutrition of this dish, but I am looking to vary the flavor profile for when I want a change. I guess the key would be to alter ingredients #6 through #11, above. I've thought of trying for an Italian or Mediterranean take on this (basil? olives? fennel? mushrooms (sauteed first?), lemon? I love lemon, but would it work in a beef dish?). Or North African (turmeric? cilantro? eggplant (I could dice it and add it to the stew).

I have become a better cook over the past several years, but I still often want to/need to see a recipe that I can at least use as a base. I haven't entirely mastered the "a pinch of this, a dash of that, taste, repeat" method of cooking. The beef is pricey and I would hate to ruin a batch due to bad ingredient mix choices.

I would love to hear ideas from some of the great cooks on this site.

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  1. I would try some smoked paprika and turmeric dice up some blue Peruvian potatoes and leeks

    1. Use half as much ground beef and replace with 2 cups or so of french lentils ( you will not notice it missing, can save money, and add in fiber and a variety of additional nutrients, approx 20g protein per cup cooked), in separate bowl rehydrate approx two ounces mixed dried wild mushrooms, check for grit before chopping and adding to the stew. Reduce chili powder to 2TB, omit cinnamon, omit cumin. Add a smoked paprika- hot if you like it a bit spicy, but start with 1TB and taste/adjust, some can be very powerful and others not. A pimenton from spain would be best. Add approx 2TB soy sauce for another layer of flavor. Garnish with toasted sliced almonds or pumpkin seeds for crunch when serving.