Friday, March 4

Solar Ground Beef Cup with Green Peas and Shitake Mushroom Gravy

Ground Beef Cup with Peas and Shitake Mushroom Gravy
I've finally had a chance to try out my new reversible baking pan -- you know, the one that will either bake cupcakes or create a cup for filling? (see below) Well, I'm here to tell you that it worked, just as promised, and I love the way it sent my head in 800 different directions for future entrees! (Now, that's an image for nightmares; right?)  In addition to creating some beautiful table eye-candy, these cups double as a great method of portion control. If you want more, you have to take another big cup -- and that would slow down all but the most intrepid diner.

To forewarn you, I' ve generally never trusted the protein value of ground beef, alone, and feel compelled to enhance it, whenever possible. This savory mix includes chopped pecans, blueberries, quinoa -- well, you get the idea. The finished cup results in exactly a one-half cup portion (I used my 1/4 cup ice cream scoop to dish it out) and the inside cup will hold just under 1/2 cup of veggies. Because my meat mixture is chock full of seasonings and the side dish of Creamed Sauerkraut works equally well as a counterpoint, I wanted to use peas as a calming taste (you can use your own favorite), cooled off by the raw carrot curls. Basically, I wanted to brighten up another beige landscape.

Here is my Christmas present, the reversible pan. I'm sure you've seen them advertised; but, just in case.

Filled with the ground beef mixture, each 1/2 cup to the top.

The finished product, right after baking and ready for the peas. [NOTE: You have to let the pan cool a bit to make it release a clean cup.] Aren't they adorable! The blueberries produce the darker color.

And, here's my recipe:

Gound Beef Cups with Green Peas and Shitake Mushroom Gravy
1 pound hamburger, lean
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup blueberries, finely chopped
1/3 cup Quinoa
1/3 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/2 cup Shitake mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp basil pesto, finely ground (optional)
1 Tbsp powdered tomato (or 1/2 cup pureed tomato)
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp mace, ground
1/2 tsp anise, ground
1/2 tsp horseradish, powdered
Salt and black pepper to taste

Combine all dry ingredients. Set aside a pinch of this spice mixture for the gravy. In large mixing bowl, combine hamburger with all the chopped ingredients and beaten eggs; add herbs and spices. Thoroughly mix with hands until all everything is evenly distributed. Put beef mixture into loaf pan or 1/2 cup into each reversed muffin cup. Place in oven bag and bake in preheated solar oven (250F) for 45 minutes. Open bag and continue cooking for another 45 to 55 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 170F or meat just begins to pull away from sides of pan. [NOTE: If using less than really lean meat, fill cups to within 1/4 inch of top so there's no fat spillover; otherwise, place pan on tinfoil sheet covered with two folded sheets of paper towels to collect runoff.]

To serve: fill cups with green peas and a generous spoonful gravy plus a few slivers of mushrooms.

Shitake Mushroom Gravy
1/2 can mushroom soup
1/4 can water or liquid from canned
1 Tbsp slivered mushrooms
1 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch of combined herbs and spices blend
from burger cups (if available)

Drain and dry mushroom slivers. Brown mushrooms (don't crowd) in butter over medium heat; add liquid to soup before adding to sauce pan. When thoroughly blended and starting to bubble, add herbs and spices. Let simmer for five minutes or until consistency is a smooth gravy. Remove from heat and serve. 

And, here is what your guests will see when they slice through the Ground Beef Cup. Enjoy!

Oh! You wanted my Creamed Sauerkraut recipe? Okay. I didn't take any pictures of the process because I felt it was pretty self-evident and, frankly, I was pooped.

Solar Creamed Sauerkraut
10 ounces sauerkraut
1/2 can mushroom soup
1/2 cup water
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp stevia or sugar
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp chicken bouillion
1 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp caraway seeds, crushed
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp anise
1/2 tsp white pepper
Salt to taste

Thoroughly rinse sauerkraut. Saute onions in oil over medium heat until golden. Remove onions and set aside. Add butter to pan and stir in flour; cook for two minutes. Slowly add rest of ingredients -- except soup and sauerkraut -- until well blended. Return onions to pan and stir in soup. Pour all into baking dish; cover; bake in preheated solar oven for 45-50 minutes. Serve with Ground Beef Cups.


  1. What a great resource!

  2. Interesting and beautiful good work brother!


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