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Southwest Skillet Ragu

Spice Up Your Dinner Routine with Southwest Skillet Ragu: A Flavor Fiesta in Every Bite

Embark on a culinary journey to the heart of the Southwest with our tantalizing Southwest Skillet Ragu. This savory masterpiece is a fusion of bold flavors, combining the richness of a classic ragu with the vibrant spices of the Southwest. Join us as we guide you through the steps of creating this culinary masterpiece that promises to bring a taste fiesta to your dinner table.

Ingredients:

For the Southwest Skillet Ragu:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 bell peppers (red and green), diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (14 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped (for garnish)

For Serving:

  • Cooked rice or your favorite pasta

Instructions:

  1. Brown the Beef:
    • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef and cook until browned. Drain excess fat if necessary.
  2. Saute the Aromatics:
    • Add chopped onions, minced garlic, and diced bell peppers to the skillet. Saute until the vegetables are softened and aromatic.
  3. Spice it Up:
    • Sprinkle chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper over the beef and vegetables. Stir to coat everything in the flavorful spices.
  4. Add the Tomatoes and Beans:
    • Pour in the crushed tomatoes, black beans, and corn kernels. Stir to combine, ensuring the ingredients are well incorporated.
  5. Simmer to Perfection:
    • Reduce the heat to low and let the ragu simmer for 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld and the sauce to thicken.
  6. Adjust Seasoning:
    • Taste the ragu and adjust the seasoning according to your preference. Add more salt, pepper, or spices if needed.
  7. Serve with Your Favorite Base:
    • Spoon the Southwest Skillet Ragu over cooked rice or your favorite pasta, creating a delightful base for this flavor-packed dish.
  8. Garnish and Enjoy:
    • Sprinkle chopped fresh cilantro over the top for a burst of freshness and vibrant color. Serve hot and enjoy the Southwest flavor fiesta!

Cook Notes:

  • Experiment with different types of beans like pinto or kidney beans for added variety.
  • For an extra kick, add a dash of hot sauce or red pepper flakes to spice things up.

Variations:

  1. Cheese Lovers’ Twist: Top the finished dish with shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese and let it melt for a gooey, cheesy delight.
  2. Avocado Magic: Serve with slices of ripe avocado for a creamy and cool contrast to the spicy ragu.
  3. Tortilla Chip Crunch: Crush some tortilla chips over the top just before serving for a satisfying crunch.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Pair this Southwest Skillet Ragu with a side of guacamole, sour cream, or a zesty salsa to enhance the Southwest experience.

Additional Tips for Perfection:

  1. One-Pan Wonder: This recipe is designed for a skillet, making cleanup a breeze. Feel free to use a cast-iron skillet for added depth of flavor.
  2. Make-Ahead Ease: Prepare the ragu ahead of time and reheat when ready to serve. The flavors tend to deepen and intensify upon reheating.
  3. Versatile Bases: While rice and pasta are classic choices, try serving the ragu over quinoa, couscous, or even on a bed of sautéed greens for a low-carb option.

Keto Versions:

  1. Cauliflower Rice Base: Swap out the traditional rice for cauliflower rice to create a keto-friendly version.
  2. Vegetable Medley: Replace the black beans and corn with low-carb vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes.
  3. Ground Turkey Swap: Opt for ground turkey instead of beef for a leaner, keto-friendly alternative.

In conclusion, the Southwest Skillet Ragu is a celebration of bold flavors, combining the richness of a classic ragu with the fiery spirit of the Southwest. Whether enjoyed over rice, pasta, or a keto-friendly alternative, this dish is a testament to the joy of culinary fusion. So, spice up your dinner routine, savor the vibrant flavors, and let the Southwest Skillet Ragu become a star in your home kitchen, bringing a flavor fiesta to every bite.

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