I have made this several times and, accordingly, it has evolved. For one, when you make any sort of stew/curry, you should sweat the veggies with salt (get all the water out). Mix the dry seasonings with the meat and add to the sweated veggies over high heat until the meat gets nice and browned. Again, this means getting the water out and you should start to get some brown bits sticking to the pan. This condenses the flavors and the direct heat on the spices bring out their oils, intensifying their flavors. Then add your wet ingredients scraping up those browned bits from the side of the pan. I never discard fat. That's just throwing away flavor. Tonight, I will add chopped fresh oregano and fresh garlic before serving to give it a little zing.
Things I add: tbsp cocoa powder, pinch of cloves, smoked paprika.
Things I sub: ground pork or chorizo for part of the ground beef, pasilla or anaheim chiles for bell pepper, beer for tomato juice, diced tomatoes instead of sauce.
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I have made this several times and, accordingly, it has evolved. For one, when you make any...