Thursday, November 25, 2010

Mini Meatballs in Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

This week's recipe is perfect with grass fed ground beef from the Farm Shop!

· 2 pounds Grass Fed Ground Beef
· 1 cup soft bread crumbs
· 2 eggs
· 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
· 2 garlic cloves, crushed
· Dash salt and pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl combine Ground Beef, bread crumbs, eggs, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape mixture into 64 one-inch meatballs and place on broiler pan. Bake in 350 degree F oven for 18-20 minutes, or until no longer pink and juices are clear.

· 1 tablespoon olive oil
· 1 medium onion, finely chopped
· 3 garlic cloves, crushed
· 1 cup beef broth
· 2 teaspoons cornstarch
· 2 jars (7 ounces each) roasted red peppers, rinsed, drained, finely chopped
· 1 cup dry white wine
· 4 ounce can of tomato paste
· 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

In large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add onion and garlic. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until tender. Combine broth and cornstarch. Add red peppers, wine, tomato paste and thyme to skillet. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer 10 to 12 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Add meatballs to skillet and cook until meatballs are heated through.

Makes: 64 appetizer size meatballs
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cut of the Week: Grass Fed Ground Beef

Every so often we see a huge surge in ground beef sales. Whenever this happens we find someone with a TV and inevitably there has been a ground beef recall. In his brilliant book Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser reveals that the typical fast food burger contains ground beef from as many as 100 different cows. Farm Shop ground meat comes from one grass fed animal and we never add back fat from other animals.

Since all of our animals are 100% grass fed the fat content of our meat is lower than the average supermarket ground beef and comes in at around 90% lean which ensures a tender, great tasting burger for your recipes.

Remember, you can always try our ground beef and lamb in the Local Burger at Fido's in Green Hills.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Organic Cooking: Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary

Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary
  • 1 (7-pound) grass fed, butterflied leg of lamb, and lamb tied
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1.5 tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine or beef broth

Pat lamb dry and score fat by making shallow cuts all over with tip of a sharp small knife.
Pound garlic to a paste with sea salt using a mortar and pestle (or mince and mash with a heavy knife) and stir together with rosemary and pepper. Put lamb in a lightly oiled roasting pan, then rub paste all over lamb. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325°F.

Roast lamb in middle of oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted 2 inches into thickest part of meat (do not touch bone) registers 130°F, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand 15 to 25 minutes (internal temperature will rise to about 140°F for medium-rare).

Add wine to pan and deglaze by boiling over moderately high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, 1 minute. Season pan juices with salt and pepper and serve with lamb.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cut of the Week: Leg of Lamb

The leg of lamb is the most versatile cut of lamb. We sell our grass fed lamb legs whole or butterflied. To butterfly a leg of lamb, it is deboned and rolled and tied, this is a tough job and is better left to the professionals. Butterflied leg of lamb is perfect for roasting, stuffing or grilling. I like to cut kabobs or stew from the butterflied leg since I don't have to deal with cutting around the bone and can cut the meat in cubes easily.

A whole leg of lamb can weigh up to 9 lbs which tends to be more than a family can eat in several sittings so butchers have invented many new and exciting cuts but they can also be a bit confusing.

One way that we like to cut our whole legs is to take several steaks from the top end of the leg with gives what is called a "half leg sirloin end". Sirloin steaks (also called leg steaks) are perfect for grilling or pan frying when you want a nice tender piece of leg without having to cook up 5-6 lbs of meat. The half leg also takes off the shank which is best stewed since it is the most used portion of the leg. Osso Bucco is the recipe that made the shank famous.
The most important thing to remember about cooking a lamb roast is to not over-cook it. Lamb has such wonderful flavor on its own, and is so naturally tender, that it is bound to turn out well, as long as it is still a little pink inside. There is some debate over which method yields the best results - slow cooking at low heat the entire time, or searing first on high heat and then slow cooking. James Beard in his American Cookery prefers the slow-cook-low-heat method (he rubs the roast with salt and pepper and cooks it at 325°F the whole time.)
Another point where there are wildly varying opinions is the internal temperature that constitutes "medium rare". I've seen references that range from 120° to 145°F. I pulled my lamb roast out at 130°F. As it rests the internal temperature continues to rise a few points as the meat continued to cook. We like lamb on the rare side of medium rare, and this roast was perfectly done to our taste. Clearly an accurate meat thermometer is essential and is one of the tools I can not be without in my kitchen.

Grass fed lamb cooks faster than grain fed lamb so keep checking the temperature to avoid over cooking.

Remember that any meat with a bone will cook more quickly than a boneless piece of meat so adjust the recipe accordingly.

Amount to Buy: For bone-in leg of lamb, allow about 3/4 pound per person; for boneless leg of lamb allow about 1/2 pound per person.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Comfort Food: Home Style Pot Roast

I love chuck and arm roasts since they come from the most used muscles on a cow. Remember the equation:
  • heavily used muscles = tougher meat = more flavor = cheaper cut
  • less used muscles = more tender meat = less flavor = expensive cut
Home Style Pot Roast

3 yellow onions
grass fed beef chuck roast, about 2 1/2 lb.
3/4 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbs. rendered bacon fat or olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp. sweet paprika, preferably Hungarian or Spanish
1 1/2 cups beef stock or broth
1 1/2 cups canned plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish

Halve the onions through the stem and cut the halves into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons. Set aside.

Season the chuck roast with the 3/4 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper. Spread the flour on a plate. Coat the roast with the flour, shaking off the excess.

In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the bacon fat. Add the roast and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 Tbs. bacon fat to the pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onions, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften, about 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and paprika and cook until the garlic is fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the stock, tomatoes and the 2 Tbs. parsley. Return the beef to the pot, nestling it in the onions. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the beef is fork-tender, about 2 hours.

Transfer the pot roast to a deep serving platter. Season the onion mixture with salt and pepper. Skim off any fat from the surface. Spoon the onion mixture around the roast and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

To make beef paprikash, simply add sour cream to the sauce: Transfer the pot roast to a platter and skim the fat from the sauce as directed. Stir 1 cup sour cream into the sauce and cook just until it is heated through; do not allow it to boil. Season with salt and pepper. Pot roast also makes excellent hot sandwiches. Slice the roast and serve it along with plenty of the saucy onions on crusty rolls.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2009)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, November 8, 2010

News from the Cows

The girls are trying to work their way back up in production but this is bad time to try. With the winter coming on and the grass gone, everything in nature says to cut back. We have found some wonderful hay from a farmer in Kentucky (Brayden is so pleased with it that he drives to Franklin, KY once a week to pick it up) and the girls really seem to be doing well on it. The production has increased slightly but we have hopes for more as the babies start to come.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Spinning Yarns: Fiber Arts for the Fall

As the temperatures drop our sheep look more and more in their element. The winter is a happy, happy time for the sheep. They work all year to grow a great fleece and it comes in mighty handy as the temperatures dip. I am looking forward to a great fleece harvest next year as I spin up the final wraps of last year's fleeces. The cooler weather keeps me inside spinning and knitting; it just seems like the right natural rhythm.

When people learn that I spin and knit the wool from our own farm they seem shocked that spinning wheels are still available for purchase. Thankfully the art of spinning, weaving and knitting are on the upsurge. My theory is that as our societies grow more chaotic, our hearts and souls search for things that are timeless, repetitious and quiet. Fiber Arts certainly fit the bill. I can't count how many time my children fell asleep to the whirl of my wheel and no matter how ADD a child is, they stand almost breathless and completely amazed watching the wheel spin, and spin.

This winter we will have yarn from our own sheep as well as hand dyed yarns from several talented artists from Tennessee for sale at the Franklin Farmers Market. We have a wide range of fleece products available from raw fleeces for spinners to hand spun yarns for those who prefer knitting and crocheting.