I love cooking shows, from cooking competitions like Hell’s Kitchen, Iron chef, the Grocery Games to restaurant shows like restaurant nightmares, diners drive ins and dives. But when I watch my shows, it means the whole family is subjected to watching them as well. And let’s just say there’s a lot of negotiations involved with TV time. Me and my food shows, my husband’s obsession with Top Gear and my son’s love of spongebob and the ninja turtles.
There’s one cooking show the whole family has grown to love and we watch it religiously together: ‘chopped’ on the Food Network Channel.
And tonight we are doing a Chopped challenge.
The challenge is; you get secret ingredients and a time limit to create an amazing meal. And the worst meal of the round gets CHOPPED! There’s an appetizer round, entree, and dessert. Whoever is left standing wins $10 000. Please note: chefs not just cooks or wannabe’s.
So feeling very tired and inspired, I ask my husband to defrost something from the freezer while I take a quick nap. And when I wake up, he tells me it’s the chopped challenge tonight.
I have 40 minutes to do something delicious with ostrich mince, sweet corn and bacon.
My first thoughts are: I can’t do burger patties or meat balls or pasta dish or curry mince on rice. Reason: I always end up making these dishes when I cook with mince. So I need to make something new, creative and inventive. Somehow my mood has improved quite a bit. Hubby knowing which buttons to push again…
I refrigerate all my mince seasoned. So I don’t have to worry too much about that. It was also frozen in a rectangular block. So I decide to use this to my advantage. I’m going to make a pan cooked mince meat loaf.
Now I’m thinking what it’ll go beautifully with. I have corn and bacon. And I get to: a warm couscous salad. Red onion/ bacon and sprinkles of corn warm couscous salad with pan cooked ostrich mince meatloaf finished with basil, coriander and lime squeeze.
3 minutes gone. Time to put it all together.
What do I need?
3 rashers of back bacon
1/2 cup of sweet corn
1 tsp of crushed garlic
1/2 cup or red wine
1/4 cup of white wine
2 spoonfuls of chopped fresh basil
2 spoonfuls of fresh chopped coriander
Seasoning: stock granules, salt & pepper, paprika, nutmeg, masala spice( turmeric, cayenne, chili flakes, salt & pepper, coriander powder, curry powder).
What to do?
I’m starting with the meat loaf. The mince is pre seasoned before refrigeration with salt & pepper. Now season each side, leaving it in an intact rectangle, with 1/2 tsp paprika; nutmeg, masala spice. Brown each side in a pan with a drizzle of jalapeño flavoured olive oil. NB: I love heat! But you can use any spicy oils or add extra chili flakes on the seasoning of the mince.
When browned, deglaze the pan with 1/4 of a cup of red wine and lower the heat to medium or level 4 on an electric stove.
While the mince is cooking, do the couscous. This literally takes 4-6 minutes. In a pan soften sliced red onion in olive oil. Add garlic and continue softening. Then add couscous and let this roast for about a minute. Then stir in 1/2 cup of white wine, 1/2 tsp of stock powder and let this cook. If wine is absorbed and couscous still not cooked through you can add a little bit of water. With a minute to go add a handful of the sweet corn.
While the mince and the couscous is cooking, quickly steam the remaining sweet corn for about 3-5 minutes. Remember we still want it a bit crunchy.
Chop a mixture of 4 basil leaves and 1/2 handful of coriander.
When all cooked, serve up. Couscous, then sprinkles of sweet corn, sliced meatloaf and sprinkle basil/ coriander on top. Then drizzle with squeezed lime juice.
Delicious, quick and light meal. All done in 35 minutes, including preparation.
Bonus point: my son cannot get enough of the couscous salad.