Texas Hash

This is a super-1970s recipe that my mother has made for us throughout the years, and I love it. I’ve of course made some tweaks to make it my own, but it’s still the same hearty home-food that I remember.



  • 450 g (1 lb) ground beef
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 ribs celery, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper or 2 cubanelle peppers, finely diced
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) long grain rice
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) tomato paste
  • 1 can (440 ml/14 oz) tomato puree
  • 1 tsp salt (or sub 1 tsp Goya Adobo seasoning if you have it)
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp paprika (pimentón) – hot or sweet (I use 1 tsp of each)
  • 1/2 tsp pimentón de la vera (smoked paprika)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp dried onion
  • 1/2 tsp powdered garlic
  • 100 g (5 oz) shredded cheddar cheese


The method is quite easy, but this recipe definitely benefits from a good mise en place, that is, having everything chopped and measured beforehand. There’s only a few minutes of active cooking time and then it’s pretty much set it and forget it.

First, finely dice all the vegetables and put them together in a medium bowl. Then measure out all the spices and put them in a small bowl/ramekin. Measure out the rice. Put the Worcester sauce and tomato paste to one side.

In a shallow casserole or deep sided sauce pan (such as a paella or cast iron pan) brown the ground beef over medium-high heat. When it’s nearly cooked through, turn the heat to medium and add the olive oil and the diced vegetables. Sauté until the celery is nearly softened (celery takes the longest to soften). At this point add the tomato paste and Worcester sauce, and sauté until the tomato paste seems to have dissolved. Then add the spices and the rice. Stir fry the rice a bit until it seems to be turning translucent.

Add the tomato sauce and one additional can of water to the pan. Mix thoroughly and turn the heat to medium-low. Cover the pan and set the timer for 17 minutes. Walk away!

After the time is up take the cover off and without stirring, allow the rice to cook for another 3-4 minutes. Take off the heat and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Put the cover back on if you just want it to melt, or under the broiler for a couple of minutes if you like the cheese browned.

Serve on its own or with a vegetable side dish (sweetcorn, mmmm).



Albóndigas a la jardinera

Typical Spanish meatballs recipe, also called “Albóndigas a la Madrileña.” A hearty all-in-one pot meal, meatballs with loads of vegetables. You can get this as a “segundo plato” in most bars and menú del día type restaurants.


  • 12 meatballs (I buy them pre-made from the store, but it’s probably about 500g of carne picada)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and diced finely
  • 2 leeks, white and light green tops, sliced
  • 1 potato, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1-2 cups of frozen peas (I like a lot of peas in this recipe.)
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 100 g tomato paste or a small can of triturado
  • flour
  • pimentón de la vera
  • salt
  • 150 ml cheap white wine
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cups caldo or a stock cube + 2 cups water


Dredge the meatballs in a few tablespoons of flour that’s been mixed with some pimentón. In a big pot, heat up a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, brown meatballs evenly over medium-high heat and remove.  Turn heat to medium and sauté onion, garlic and leeks until they start to soften (scraping up bits from the bottom of the pot). Add carrots and sauté for a few more minutes. Then add the white wine, caldo (or stock cube), tomato paste (or triturado) and a cup or two of water. Better to add less water now and see how it looks with all the veg, and then you can add more later if necessary. Add in meatballs, bay leaves, potatoes, peas, and a bit more pimentón. Check for salt. Let simmer for 30-45 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring every 10-15 minutes.

Check the last 10-15 minutes or so to make sure carrots/potatoes are done, but don’t over cook. I like to turn the heat off and let the pot sit for a while so the flavors can blend. Right before you serve, heat the pot back up up to simmering and serve.

Update: I’ve made this now half a dozen times or so, and it’s fast becoming Joel’s favorite. In addition to onion, leek and garlic I also throw in a couple of rough-chopped shallots. You can also sub out some of the potato and/or carrots with parsnips, for more root vegetable goodness!

Servings: Six, approx. According to MFP each serving has about 400 calories. Not bad!