Friday, December 5, 2008

Oregano

Oregano

I love fresh oregano. It is one herb where the fresh stuff beats the dried version hands down. There is a big patch of oregano in my herb garden and it gets bigger each year. Oregano is closely related to marjoram and they are a member of the mint family. Oregano is a hardy plant and spreads easily by layering, root division or seed. I've let mine spread as it makes a good ground cover under the bay tree.

Oregano needs a sunny spot and survives on minimal water. It dies down over the colder months and shoots up again when the weather warms up. It has purple flowers in the summer which the bees love. To ensure a continuous supply you will need to dry some for the winter months. Pick leaves early in the morning when the oils are strongest if picking for drying.

Oregano goes well with tomatoes and is often used in Italian cooking.

My favourite oregano recipes

Chilli Con Carne

2 teaspoons dried chilli
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon allspice
2 onions finely chopped
2 cloves garlic crushed
500g mince beef
diced vegetables - carrot, capsicum, celery (whatever you wish to use)
vegetable or beef stock
tinned crushed tomatoes
1 cup kidney beans, soaked and cooked or 1 tin kidney beans
finely chopped oregano

Add spices to dry pan and heat for 1 minute or until spices are fragrant. Remove from pan.
Add onion and garlic to pan with a little oil, cook until browned, add mince and brown.
Add diced vegetables, spices, enough stock to make a sauce (about a cup),and tomatoes. Simmer until vegetables are tender, add beans. Tomato paste can be added if desired. Add oregano, cook further 5 - 10 minutes.

Serve with corn chips and a little grated cheese.

Enjoy!

Note: freezes well

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