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Banish ground beef doldrums

(MCT) — I don’t much like cooking with ground meat. It’s supereasy, of course. Just toss in the skillet and brown, then proceed with spices, sauces, chopped vegetables, etc.

But for a weeknight supper, I’d rather saute some chicken or cook pasta. Faced with a pound of ground beef or chicken, I’d prefer to make meatballs or meatloaf, but either takes too long.

Maybe that aversion was really boredom. Because when I stumbled upon an Asian-flavored treatment for ground beef on Epicurious.com, the flagging spirit and taste buds were stimulated.

GROUND BEEF WITH ASIAN SLAW

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 25 minutes

Servings: 4

Note: The sauce is adapted from a spicy beef salad on Epicurious.com.

Ingredients:

2 cups water

1 cup white rice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon each: Worcestershire sauce, sugar, soy sauce

2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 pound lean ground beef (or chicken, turkey or pork)

Slaw:

8 leaves napa cabbage, finely julienned

2 carrots, shredded

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon each: canola oil, lime juice, rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon each: mirin, soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon salt

Fresh cilantro leaves

Directions:

1. Heat water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat; stir in rice and salt. When water returns to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover; allow to simmer, 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, for the sauce, whisk the lime juice, Worcestershire, sugar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and cayenne together in a small bowl.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; cook the ground beef until browned, breaking it up with a spatula, 8 minutes. Drain off excess fat; stir in the sauce. Lower heat to a simmer; allow to simmer so that flavors marry, 3 minutes.

4. For the slaw, place napa cabbage and carrots in a large bowl. Whisk the remaining ingredients (except cilantro) together in a bowl; toss with the vegetables. Serve the slaw over the rice, topping with the beef. Sprinkle with cilantro.

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