Not having a decent meal for almost 100 days as a Survivor contestant, Benjamin "Coach" Wade can't help but fixate on food now. We certainly don't blame him, it's our favorite topic.
While chatting all-things-edible with us, he strayed from talking Survivor and shared his list of top five L.A. restaurants -- El Carmen, Proof Bakery, The Yard, ink. and The Bazaar -- and pressed us for "hole in the wall taco joints or places where I can eat bugs" as well. (We couldn't help but notice three of those spots have a reality show connection.)
With surprising alacrity and using some very blush-worthy metaphors he also spent a few moments speaking directly in to the recorder sharing his enthusiastic review of the meal we'd just eaten. He then cheerfully explained the proper way to catch and prepare piranha and waxed rhapsodic about barbeque. "I'm a Southern man after all. I love barbeque. I know barbeque," and his fondness for Thai cuisine and all manner of off-the-beaten path dishes. He should have his own show as a sort of Anthony Bourdain-Criss Angel mash up -- making strange food disappear.
"I live in a small town near Reno with my fiancée, Jessica, and it's hard to find good food. If I want something I can't find I have to make it. I love cooking anyway and I love making food. On Survivor I didn't cook because it was a strategy, but at home I do it sometimes."
At this point he launched in to a description of his favorite dish, one that his father learned when their family was in India in the mid 80s. It sounded awesome -- and turns out, is -- so we asked for the recipe.
He calls it Peshawr Beef. Our research shows Peshawar is a region in Pakistan, but we couldn't find any other example of this dish. It is reminiscent of a standard tomato-ginger curry though.
Fun side note: Wade may not have won the million dollar prize and title of Sole Survivor, but he does know how to make a thrifty dish. Using all local and organic ingredients and grass-fed beef, this still cost us less than $15 for about six servings.
Coach Wade's Peshawr beef
From: Benjamin "Coach" Wade
1 inch fresh ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, minced
4 whole cloves
1 teaspoon green cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
4 tablespoons butter (or ghee)
2 lbs beef or lamb chuck
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 tsp cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup canned tomato puree
2 cups plain yogurt
1 teaspoon garam masala
¾ cup toasted cashews
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1. Grind ginger, garlic and onion in a food processor until fine mush. Set aside.
2. Saute cloves, cardamom, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf in very hot (almost smoking) butter for about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove the spices from the butter. Turn the heat down slightly.
3. Add the ginger-onion puree and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring constantly
4. Add meat, turmeric, cayenne and salt and pepper, and saute until the
meat is browned.
5. Add tomato and simmer, covered, for about 1 hour over low heat (until
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6. Remove the lid, raise the heat and bring to a boil to reduce and thicken the sauce, up to six minutes, depending on how much liquid there is.
7. Remove from the heat and add yogurt and garam masala. Top with cashews and cilantro.
Follow Rachael on Twitter @chickswknives