Thursday, August 27, 2009

Slow-Cooked Beef

The beef was tender and delicious. It has a slight gamey flavor compared to supermarket beef, which I really enjoy. I could have cooked down the red wine in a pan at a higher heat to make a sauce, but it was really moist and flavorful without that. We ate at our new dining table for the first time! We've been couching it for way too long. It is so nice to finally sit at a table across from a person. It really makes eating food feel like Having a Meal.

I got some stew cuts of beef from Heiden Valley Farm at the South Wedge Farmers Market here in Rochester. They raise cattle, pigs, and chickens that are pasture-raised, grass-fed, and sold locally. I've had their bacon before and loved it, I get eggs from them every week (at $3/dozen), and I'm excited to try their beef.

Eating ethically, particularly when it comes to meat, is often very expensive. We have decided the investment in our health, the local economy, ecology, and general food culture is worth it. Still, we are not rolling in dough over here. Money doesn't grow on organic, local, community-supported trees. So I use some budgeting tricks like buying in bulk and freezing, buying a whole chicken and stretching it with other ingredients into several meals, saving the bones for stock. And of course, getting the cheap (read: tough) cuts of meat and cooking them slowly.

I thawed the beef (which is cut into 2 inch sq. chunks) last night.

Today at my lunch hour, I grabbed a bottle of Bully Hill semi-dry red wine, reflected on how great it is to live in the Finger Lakes area, ran home and took out my slow cooker.

I braised the meat (which was still a little frozen) in a hot pan, then threw it in the cooker, and covered it with salt, pepper, rosemary, oregano, and a little brown mustard.

I sliced an onion, sauteed it in some butter in the braising pan until it was starting to get brown, then I added a sliced clove of garlic.

After another minute or so, I added the onion and garlic to the slow cooker, poured about 1/3 to 1/2 the bottle of red wine over it all, covered, set it on high, and headed back to work. Were I not such a procrastinator, I could've done all that last night, put the pot in the fridge, and set it on low this morning to cook all day. Alas, I did not. It will still get 6 hours of cooking time.

I'm now about to head to the farmers market where I'll pick up some green beans to sautee on the side. I'll just cook them in some olive oil, salt, and garlic.

I may also cook the one new potato I have left from last week. I'll probably slice it pretty thin, toss it in olive oil, salt, pepper, and maybe a little dill, throw it on a baking sheet and roast it at about 425 degrees.

I will update later on how it turns out! Also on all the lessons on pollination I learn from the overly friendly Bee Guy at the market--since I need to buy honey today.

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