July 01, 2011

Instructions

  • Cook onion and garlic in butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add carrot, celery and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Add beef and brown, stirring to break up lumps, 5 to 6 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, and ¾ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, wine, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar and boil, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened, about 6 minutes. Spoon filling onto the rolls. Serves 4.

About this recipe

The use of red wine in this recipe really spiffs up the flavor of a childhood favorite. I’ve decided in recent years that any beef recipe, no matter how mundane, must have red wine in it — the chemistry that happens to the flavor is truly remarkable. You can also add a little jalapeño or Tabasco if you like ’em spicy. I find the ground beef I get at the farmers’ market is so lean I rarely have to drain it after I brown it. If your meat isn’t as lean, drain it before adding the spices.

A note about tomato sauce: Now that it is high summer, tomatoes are starting to come on like gangbusters. My dear friend Sarah Fritschner told me of her slow-cooker tomato sauce a few years ago, and it changed my life. See the recipe in this issue, and take it to heart. I make sure my pantry is very well stocked with it (she freezes hers) because it comes in so handy for so many dishes.

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (14½-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, drained, or 1 pint tomato sauce
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons (Bourbon Barrel Foods) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 4 kaiser rolls, split
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