The Engineer and I are facing a slight crisis….our supply of ground elk and deer is dwindling dangerously low. We have plenty of steaks and roasts, but our tubes of ground meat are quickly disappearing!
How are we supposed to make tacos without ground meat!?!
Now I know that I could make steak tacos….pulled pork tacos…chicken tacos…fish tacos……
Trust me, we make tacos a ton and in a wide variety of flavors and styles. However, some tacos require planning and forethought. I’m not always the best at taking things out of the freezer to thaw in advance, but a pound of frozen solid ground meat is just easy to toss straight into a frying pan! Basically, having a reliable stash of ground meat in my house is a requirement.
The Engineer bought me a grinding attachment for my Kitchen Aide for Christmas because I had grand visions of getting into sausage making. I have yet to make a batch of sausage, and so the grinder had just been waiting patiently in a kitchen cabinet to be used for something delicious. Last weekend we decided to test out the grinder and tackle our meat issue head on!
First things first….thaw out a giant roast! When The Engineer had his elk processed in Canada, it was cheaper to just get it cut into large roasts. This makes total sense and is fine, except that the two of us don’t necessarily need to cook up a 4-5 pound roast for a nice dinner at home! Also, don’t worry if the meat isn’t totally thawed. The colder, even still slightly frozen, the better. Also, if you’re going to add additional fat into your ground meat….that fat needs to be frozen!
The grinder worked great! I had read some questionable reviews so I didn’t really know what to expect, and I had emotionally prepared to spend most of the day fighting and struggling to get the meat processed. It was such a smooth process I wish we had thawed out more meat and we could have just done it all at once. We ground the meat twice, once through the coarse blade, and a second time through the fine. I’m not sure that a second grind is required if you’re just planning on tacos, chili, casseroles, and such with the meat, but it’s the typically recommended procedure. Between the rounds of grinding I took apart the grinder and cleaned it out. It had built up a little ring of tendon, fat, and meat right behind the grind plate, but it was easy to just clean out. Also, once the flow of meat stops moving down the auger, a small chunk was left that couldn’t be pushed through the grind plate….no biggie and Scout really appreciated the snacks!
The only slight issue we had is that no store in town stocked the “Sausage Kit” with the filling nozzles. Minor setback, and it worked pretty well to just hold the bags and let the ground meat sort of just fall into the bottom. Actually, once the bags had some meat in them they sort of just sat themselves up. Easy peasey lemon squeezey!
Now, if you’re looking for a tasty way to use up some ground meat….might I suggest Mexican Stuffed Peppers!
- Drizzle of olive oil (Only needed for wild game as it is super lean and sticks)
- 1lb ground meat
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 cup cooked rice or quinoa
- 1 can Original Rotel
- 1 can black beans, rinsed
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp cumin and chili powder
- 1 tbsp cayenne pepper…or to taste if your spice sensitive
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 2/3 cup shredded cheese, plus 2/3 cup additional for topping
- 3 large bell peppers
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add meat and onion. Cook over medium until the meat is fully cooked and the onion is soft. Add the garlic, Rotel, rice, beans, and all spices to the skillet and mix to combine. Turn heat off and allow to sit to cool and the flavors to meld for a couple minutes. Divide peppers in half through the stem and remove all seeds. Immediately before “stuffing”, stir 2/3 of cheese into the meat mixture.
Divide the mixture evenly between all the peppers….don’t worry about being too neat. They will be large and in charge! Sprinkle the tops with the additional cheese, if desired, cover with foil, and bake at 370 for about 30-35 minutes. I like a crispy, brown, cheesy crust so I uncovered them for an additional 5 minutes. The cooking time will be reduced if you have smaller peppers, just cook until the peppers are soft and tender.
Serve immediately with any of your favorite taco toppings! I did avocado….OF COURSE!…..and The Engineer likes his with taco sauce and sour cream.