Ugly Food That Tastes Good: Joe’s Special

In my arsenal of ugly recipes, this is probably the worst offender. It’s ugly when you start, ugly while you’re cooking it, and ugly when it’s finished. Thank god it is so tasty that it is worth it casting aside this discriminatory idea that we eat with our eyes first.

Also: Super Nutritious.

You know how everyone and their mother wants you to drink Green Smoothies for breakfast because it’s such a delicious protein filled way to camoflouge all of that spinach? Well this is the Green Smoothie’s dinner equivalent. And it will rock your socks off, even if you are a confirmed hot spinach hater like me.

Allow me to introduce to you: Joe’s Special.
Joe's Special

Have you heard of Joe’s Special? It is a famously San Franciscan dish that I remember hearing about in my childhood. The story of origin varies — some say it was invented to fill the bellies of hungry miners during the gold rush, others say it was a midnight snack for local jazz musicians in the 20s, my parents used to order it at a restaurant that they enjoyed on those occasional date nights they had while I was growing up. I can’t remember not knowing about Joe’s Special. So the first time I actually saw it, I was shocked that it looked a lot more..um, “rustic” than I had imagined for a dish with such history. I expected something fancy done in little bites on fine white china, what I got was something that Ina Garten would say looks like “A Dog’s Breakfast.”

But do you know what it tastes like? Bliss.

It’s a combination of beef, onions, spinach, mushrooms and eggs that has all of the flavor but none of the refinement of a good frittata. And? It falls within the Paleo/Primal spectrum no matter how strict you are. Omit the dairy and it’s still great! Not drinking alcohol? Substitute Beef Broth. Anyway you slice it, it will come through in the clutch the next time you need to get a quick meal on the table. And as a bonus it will give you a good story to tell.

Joe’s Special
Adapted from: Everywhere. This recipe specifically is on a 3×5 card from my Mama!

Ingredients:
1 TBS Coconut Oil (Or cooking fat of your choice)
1 Large Onion, diced
6-8 Large Mushrooms, sliced (Any kind you you like will do)
5 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 lb Grass Fed Ground Beef
6-8 oz of Fresh Spinach (About 6 big handfuls. More is ok too!)
1/2 Red Wine or Beef Broth (Depending on if you cook with alcohol)
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese (Omit if you don’t do dairy. Totally cool.)
2 Extra Large Eggs, beaten
Salt and Pepper

Method:

1. Saute diced onion and sliced mushrooms in Coconut Oil over medium heat. You want to get the mushrooms good and caramelized. Salt and pepper the onions and mushrooms when they have browned a bit otherwise the mushrooms will get rubbery.

2. Add garlic, cook for about a minute.

3. Crumble in ground beef and brown. When beef is cooked, salt and pepper this layer liberally as well.

4. Add in your spinach. It will look like a lot. It will cook down. In fact, sometimes I add extra just to get crazy. You can’t have too much spinach in this dish, so don’t be afraid.

5. Pour wine/beef broth over your spinach and meat concoction and let the spinach wilt down.

6. Add in your parmesan and blend together.

7. Pour beaten eggs over the whole shebang, stir until eggs are cooked. Serve with a little extra grated parmesan or spinach for garnish.

8. Enjoy the ugliest dish ever!

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