Friday, November 16, 2012

Ummmm.... Grassfed Beef

Although we raise animals for consumption, we do not deny a respectful and amicable relationship with those who inevitably will end up on the table.  For a few weeks after we send the animals to harvest, I tend to eat alot of vegetarian and fish dishes - and then I am ready physically and spiritually to enjoy the tasty and healthy farm-raised meat.

Many of our new customers have never eaten or cooked grassfed meats - especially the beef.  It is extremelly lean, with some US studies claiming that grassfed beef is equivalent in fat and cholesterol content to skinless chicken breasts. 

So here are some tips - that might help to get you started!

Grilling on the Barbq:

Firstly, make hamburgers only slightly bigger than what you want their final size to be once cooked.  Unlike conventional hamburger, grassfed beef is so lean that you will get very little shrinkage.  I like to mix 4lbs of hamburger with Montreal Steak Spice, 1 beaten egg, and a little Worchestire sauce.  Then I form them into 8 large patties and grill on highheat on the Barbq until still pink in the centre - I will make a few small patties for the kids.  My preferred hamburger garnish is creamcheese with caramalized vidalia onions and maybe a stip of good crisp bacon or two; or boston lettuce, avocado, mayo and cheddar.  Served on toasted wholewheat English Muffins or soft onions rolls and you are in business.

Thaw in a spill-proof container in the fridge 24 hrs prior to use.  I like to marinate my steaks to increase tenderness and enhance flavour - I normally mix a little acid (balsamic, soya or lime juice) with the base of an appropriate oil and add spices. 

For a long steak like a TBone, I use balsamic vinegar with olive oil, sea salt, crushed garlic and fresh rosemary. 

For a minute steak I like to take Soya sauce, vegetable oil with a splash of sesame oil, lots of fresh grated ginger and brown sugar or honey - slice in strips, perfect for a stir fry.  Or use leftover grilled steak to make cold ricepaper springrolls with fresh mint, rice vermicelli, grated carrots and cucumber - I whisk up a peanut sauce with a little thai sweet chili sauce, fresh lime juice, water, rice wine vinegar, fresh cilantro and of course peanut butter to dip them in.

Larger steaks like the Boston cut, I use Soya mixed half and half with French dressing and a touch of brown sugar... it caramalizes deliciously on the grill.

Filet mignon - do nothing to change the texture or flavour, this is the BEST part of the beef (unless you wrap it in bacon), and enjoy it medium-rare - yummy!!!

Another favourite marinade is seasoned rice wine vinegar, vegetable oil, garlic, lime juice and lots of chopped fresh cilantro.

We like to get the Barbq up to 500F and then turn the heat down once the steaks hit the grill.

There is a few ways to cooks roasts - but the general rule for grassfed beef is SLOW & LOW.  As there is no great amount of fat marbling throughout the meat like that produced by conventional cornfed beef, if you cook it on too high a temperature (over 325F) for the duration of the cooking it will become tough.

Firstly, thaw your roast thoroughly in the fridge - usually 24-36hrs and bring to room temperature before roasting.  I like to make a mixture of grainy and smooth dijon mustard mixed with a little Montreal Steak Spice and maple syrup and coat my roast before putting in the roasting pan.

Then, I turn my roast into an oven pre-heated to 550F uncovered and cook for 12 mins  (2lb roast) -17 mins (5lb roast) and then turn the oven OFF.  Do not open the oven at all and leave the roast sit in the cooling oven for 1.5-2 hrs.  The high heat at the outset browns the outside of the roast quickly, thereby keeping the juices and fat inside the meat, and then the slow cooking oven as it cools is perfect for finishing the cooking for the grassfed beef.  Remove the roast and cover with tinfoil and let set for 10mins before slicing.  Delicicous!  I like to take the roast out of the pan and set it covered on my cutting board while I deglaze the roasting pan on the stovetop with a little redwine before making either an AuJus or gravy to go along - believe it or not, my kids do not like gravy! I prefer creamed horseradish to anything else to go with rare roast beef.  Here is a photo of a 4.5lbs roast cooked this way this month - leftovers made great hot roastbeef sandwiches!!!

We love liver, served with bacon and onions for breakfast! Our son Pearson adores liver for breakfast - whereas it took me nearly 2 decades to acquire the taste. Marinate thawed liver in buttermilk for 12hrs, pat dry and fry in a hot pan with a little butter until still pink. Eating well cooked liver is not advised - it becomes tough and bitter in flavour.  Sprinkle a little brown sugar over the meat before removing from the pan.  Enjoy with caramalized onions, crispy bacon and HP sauce if you have an ounce of British blood in ya!

Unsure about eating liver by itself... simply pan fry it in a little butter until well cooked (no marinade necessary).  Cool and dry on papertowel lined plate.  Place in food processor and process until fine.  Bag and freeze in 2Tbsp baggies and add to soups, stews, pasta sauces etc - nobody will ever know it is in there and it is SOOO NUTRITIOUS for us!  It will keep cooked in the freezer for up to 3 months safely without freezer burn if you remove all air from the baggies.

The number one thing that you need to do with kidneys is to rinse them thoroughly before cooking. I usually put thawed kidneys into a container filled with cold water in the fridge (I use an old icecream container) and simply change the water anytime that I go into the fridge during the courses of a day (you want to ensure that you flush out any remaining urine).  You want to change the water at least a dozen times or so.  Then dry the kidneys, chop, and fry with mushrooms and onions in butter.  Mix with left-over steak pieces and make a brown sauce - put in pie shell and top with pastry brushed with an egg wash. Voila - Steak & Kidney pie!

Tongue & Heart are an acquired taste, to which I have yet to acquire myself, although my husband Drummond enjoys them.  Traditionally, tongue is either boiled or pickled and heart is stuffed and then baked.  There are many recipes on the internet, or ask someone in their eighties and they will likely be able to tell you how to cook them... our grandparents better used and understood the nutritional values of eating animal organs.

1 comment:

idv8 said...

Amanda, how can I get in touch with you to talk about purchasing some grass fed meat? Excited that you're nearby!