(by Judy Bolton-Fasman)
2 T. olive oil 2 big onions (about the size of a baseball), chopped into thumbnail-sized pieces 2 red peppers, seeded and chopped into thumbnail-sized pieces 3 lb. ground beef or turkey 16 oz. jar medium or mild taco sauce (Ortega or Old El Paso) 28 - 32. oz. crushed tomatoes with juice (don’t use tomatoes with basil) 1/2 - 1 c. raisins 2 - 3 rounded T. tomato paste optional: 1/3 c. drained niçoise olives If not using olives, add 1/2 t. salt For rice and beans: 2 c. water 1 c. brown rice, rinsed well and drained 1 scant t. salt 15 oz. can black beans, drained in a colander and rinsed gently
In a large frying pan, heat olive oil, and sauté onions and peppers until softened and lightly browned. Set aside in a bowl. In same pan, sauté ground beef or turkey until lightly browned, and drain of excess fat. Add onions and peppers back to the pan with drained meat. Add taco sauce, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and raisins. Mix well and simmer about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. May be simmered an additional 30 - 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, to concentrate flavors and reduce liquid. Add optional olives or salt, mixing well. For rice and beans: Bring 2 c. water to a boil, add scant t. salt and rice. Lower to a bare simmer and cover. Cook without stirring for 45 minutes. Turn off heat, leaving pot on burner, for 10 - 15 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork, and serve with beans and meat. Enjoy.
Notes: If you like raisins, use the full cup. They balance the spice and offer a lovely sweetness. This recipe is even better the second day. Freezes well.
(Read Course Correction, the story that accompanies this recipe.)