My mom’s get it done meat sauce is the perfect pantry meal for busy weeknights. Made with ground beef, spices, and my mom’s imagination it boasts Italian-ish flavors with the utility of Cuban picadillo. This is the perfect dinner for nights when you are too tired, stressed, or broke to make anything fancy.
My mom is my hero. She’s lived an incredible life filled with trials, triumphs and blessings. She is one of the most ambitious, hard working people I know. From fleeing religious persecution in Iran, to receiving her AA degree in her 40’s with three kids and a full time job, maman can overcome any obstacle and she’s stronger for it.
When I was in middle school things were financially difficult for us. My dad was running a mechanic shop with unscrupulous business partners and my mom worked full time while she attended community college to receive her AA degree. No matter how tired maman was, we always had a hot meal waiting for us after school.
Maman would come home, bone tired, and forage the freezer and pantry for something to put together. One of her favorite responses when asked what’s for dinner was, “bokhor oh naporse”. Translated from Farsi this means, “eat and don’t ask”. It’s just another way of saying “I’m throwing together whatever I can get my hands on so don’t be picky.” Regardless of how sparse our pantries were, mom was always able to whip up delicious meals between grocery hauls.
This all purpose, get it done meat sauce was one of her specialities and one of my favorites. She always seemed to have the ingredients on hand; ground beef waiting in the freezer, dried herbs, and canned tomatoes in the cupboard. She’d serve our favorite sauce over pasta, rice, or vegetables.
The steps in this recipe were perfect for maman because she could prep everything on the fly. She would chop the onion while the beef defrosted, skillfully dicing the onion in mid air right over the pot. My mom’s cooking philosophy hardly ever includes a cutting board or mise en place. Maman minced the garlic while the beef and onions browned, working as efficiently as possible. She would improvise the flavors of the dish based on the dried herbs and spices she had on hand. My mom’s love for her family and her innate understanding of food and flavors always trumped classical haute cuisine dogma. No matter how many culinary faux pas she committed, she always turned out the most delicious food. Watching my mom cook is still one of my greatest joys in life and I’m so pleased every time I recreate one of her dishes in my own kitchen.
Mom’s get it done meat sauce is a utilitarian dish that’s nourishing and delicious. It’s the perfect meal to tuck into after a long day. Serve it over pasta, rice, or roasted vegetables. The only limit is your imagination.
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