Some Recipes for Local Meat, and M Gets a Chance to Interview
Asks M, age 5, with a mouthful of bacon and some greasy fingers he's wiping on his pants, “Why is your bacon so good?”
Taste and quality are a bigger focus than speed and cost. The bacon is cured with a sugar-based cure and smoked with hickory flavor. Plus the pigs get fresh air, sunshine, and exercise while eating a simple, balanced diet.
And believe you me, it's some good bacon. The one thing Nikki warned me about when I first bought it was that less-processed bacon cooks much more quickly than shrink-wrapped bacon from the grocery store because it contains less "stuff." She's right. I've got a good bacon-cooking rhythm down now, but it took a little bit to get used to how quickly fresher bacon cooks than the Eckrich we were used to.
But enough of my yakking. Let's get onto some of Nikki's favorite recipes.
Wild Mushroom Beef Roast
A great mix of flavor and texture, easy to make and special enough for company!
2.5 lb roast (chuck, arm, tip, or rump)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. thyme leaves, crushed
3/4 cup ready-to-serve beef broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 bulbs garlic, minced
8 ounces assorted mushrooms, such as shitake, cremini, oyster, and button, cut into quarters Fresh parsley (optional)
- Combine flour, salt, pepper and thyme in small bowl. Place beef in a 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 quart slow cooker. Sprinkle with flour mixture; toss to coat.
- Combine broth, tomato paste, wine and garlic in small bowl; mix well. Add to beef. Add mushrooms; mix well.
- Cover and cook on HIGH 6 to 7 hours or on LOW 8 to 10 hours, or until beef is tender. Do not lift the lid. (No stirring is necessary during cooking.) Stir well before serving. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
Mexi-Lamb Tortilla Lasagna
This recipe, from the American Lamb Board is a fast way to get multiple food groups in one dish. If your family doesn’t like sour cream, just eliminate it and double the amount of salsa. So that we can have leftovers, I usually double the recipe and bake it in a 13 X 9 pan.
1 pound ground lamb
1 cup salsa
1 can (15 ounces) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup (8 ounces) light or regular sour cream
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 10-inch flour tortillas
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 medium tomato, chopped
Toppings: shredded cheddar cheese and salsa
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a skillet, cook and crumble the ground lamb until it's no longer pink. Drain well. Stir in the salsa and beans, and set aside.
- In a bowl, mix the sour cream, cheese, and flour.
- Spray a 10-inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray. Place one tortilla in the bottom of the dish. Top with 1/3 of the meat mixture and 1/2 of the sour cream mixture. Top with a second tortilla and repeat with 1/3 meat and remaining sour cream. Top with a third tortilla and remaining meat.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until heated through. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting into wedges. Top each serving with shredded lettuce and chopped tomato. If you like, garnish with the additional cheese and salsa.
Fall-off-the-Bone BBQ Pork Ribs
Another slow-cooker family favorite that came from the October 2006 issue of Good Housekeeping.
1 medium onion chopped
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tomato paste
2 Tbsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1 tsp. pepper
4 pounds pork spare ribs or country style ribs
- Coat a 4 -1/2 to 6 quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray, and then add in and stir together the onion, ketchup, vinegar, sugar, tomato paste, paprika, Worcestershire, mustard, salt, and pepper until mixed.
- Layer spare ribs or country style ribs over sauce and cook for 8 hours on low. Do not lift lid while cooking.
Many thanks to Nikki for shedding a little light on sustainable farming. If you’re in the Indianapolis area, stop by one of the farmers markets that features Royer Farm Fresh meats. If you're not, check out www.localharvest.org to see what local and sustainable options are available in your area.
By the choices we all make regarding what we're willing to put on our table, we can change the cruel and sometimes toxic meat industry. If you can, do try to buy local, where you can know how the animals were treated and how the meat was processed. I can attest that it makes a huge difference in taste, and it will support a meat industry that is humane, safe, and carries a much smaller carbon footprint.