Figgy Meat

This original recipe is the result of making a very nice recipe a few weeks ago, something with ground beef seasoned and made into meatballs, and then a sauce that – and this is all I remember for sure – included chopped figs and balsamic vinegar, simmered & reduced.  I don’t remember what else was in the fig-vinegar dressing/glaze, and I decided afterwards that making meatballs was an unnecessary step when cooking for one person, but I did like the flavor combination.

Then this weekend, I impulse-bought some more figs at the store, but when I got home, I couldn’t find/recall the recipe I used.

So I decided to improvise!  It turned out pretty well, in my opinion, so I want to keep some sort of record of what I did… but I was improvising, which meant I didn’t measure anything.  Soooo…. here we are, at this probably-not-very-helpful recipe.

  • some figs (I had about 10 oz)
  • balsamic vinegar
  • brown sugar
  • rosemary
  • ginger
  • mustard
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • handful finely chopped onions

Prepare figs – cut off the tip, then quarter vertically.  Cut each quarter in half or in thirds, depending on size.

In small saucepan, combine fig chunks and balsamic vinegar.  I emptied out what was left of my bottle, then added a little water until the figs were mostly submerged.  I would estimate 1/3 or 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar and 1/4 c. water.  Bring to a (very) low boil, then reduce heat and let simmer.

Add about Tbs brown sugar, Tbs rosemary, 1 or 2 tsp ginger, 1 or 2 tsp mustard, and any other spices you think would be complimentary.  Stir well, mashing the fig pieces slightly (they should be pretty soft after coming to a boil, but you don’t want to pulverize them, just mush), and leave at low heat.

In preferred pan (I always use a certain skillet when browning a pound of ground beef), begin cooking ground beef.  Stir in a handful of finely chopped onion and salt & pepper to taste.  (Feel free to incorporate other veggies that you need to use up; bell pepper was a nice inclusion, for example.)

By the time the meat is nearly finished cooking, the fig sauce should have reduced somewhat.  Empty fig-vinegar sauce into beef; stir well.

Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, or until sauce is reduced as much as you’d like.

…so you end up with, basically, just flavored ground beef – but it’s fantastically flavored ground beef!  I put a serving of it on salad, or serve with sautéed zucchini & carrots, or anything else that’s handy.  ¡Fantastico!