Winter is coming in Argentina and this sauce with red meat is great for dark cold days and perfect for pasta or polenta.

When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time during mornings with my grandma. Every day we used to go to the grocery to buy fresh ingredients to prepare lunch. I didn’t fully appreciated it back then, but the meals that my grandma prepared were so elaborated and delicious that they rivaled those from a nice restaurant.

Some of the spices I saw her using often, were the cuminum and pimentón (also known as paprika). These are common spices used in the cuisine from where I was born, Salta, Argentina, located near the Andean mountains since they’ve been cultivated here for centuries. While this sauce is not one that I ever saw my grandma prepare, it contains many elements that she used.

These ingredients serve four persons:

  • 200gr of tomato puree
  • 500gr of minced meat
  • 50gr of fresh cheese
  • 1/2 brown onion
  • A little bit of long green onion or leek
  • Cuminum
  • Pimentón
  • Nutmeg
  • Black pepper
  • Curry
  • Laurus
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Sunflower oil

First, chop the onion and the long green onion. I use a mezzaluna to cut and chop everything.

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Let’s begin! Pour olive oil into a wok or large frying pan. Throw the onion in it. The oil should cover the onion but not for much. Flip them often. Fry until the onions are brown.

By now there’s probably not enough olive oil to continue frying. You can use sunflower oil to compensate. Add a little, wait some seconds until it’s hot and add the minced meat little by little frying is sides instantly so the meat is sealed and it doesn’t lose its natural juice.

Once all the meat is added and toasted add the tomato puree. It’s best if the tomato puree is at room temperature.

Add the long green onion. Mix. Add the cheese and mix until is melted. The cheese will give the mix a coarse consistency.

Add the spices. Be generous with the pimentón, curry and cuminum. Add just a bit of nutmeg and careful with black pepper. Add four leaves of laurus.

Add salt. Careful: the cheese adds its own salt to the mix so you might not need as much as you’d expect to. Try it as you go.

And then it’s ready to be served with polenta or any kind of pasta. Hope you enjoy it! Next time I’ll post the recipe of a stew that my grandma used to make that is good for winter or summer.

Code Wrangler at Automattic for Jetpack. Designer, illustrator, WordCamp speaker. Co-founder of WPArgentina.

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