Beef Roast

The Cardinal Rules

There are 2 things to remember at all times when preparing and eating pastured beef and pork:

  1. The roasts and osso buco cuts should follow the low and slow method of cooking. Or get the new pressure cooker and eliminate the “slow” part.
  2. Fat on our meat is your friend. Absolutely eat it, or at least its juices that are formed in the cooking process. The Omega 3s and CLAs are found only in the fat (that is why they are known as “fatty acids” in the nutritional science world.

Recipe: Spice-Rubbed Braised Beef

Gwendolyn Dawson sends us this tested and recommended recipe from her adaptation of the Cooking Light Magazine recipe; good for the roasts, stews and, yes, the fajitas.

Gwendolyn’s Braised Beef

Yield:  10 servings (serving size: 3 ounces beef and about 1/3 cup sauce)

For the roast:

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 (3-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed (or 3 lbs fajita or stew meat)

For the sauce:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. To prepare roast, combine paprika, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt, dry mustard, and ground red pepper; rub over roast. Place roast in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal and refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.
  2. To prepare sauce, heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, crushed red pepper, and minced   garlic; cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add crushed tomatoes, 1/2 cup water, and the next 3 ingredients (through tomato paste), and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
  3. Remove roast from bag and place in slow cooker. Pour sauce over roast and cook on low heat for about 8 hours until meat is tender (cooking time will be much less for smaller cuts of meat). Alternatively, add roast to sauce in Dutch oven, cover, and put it in the oven at 325° for 2 1/2 hours or until tender.

We like to spoon the meat and sauce over brown rice or bulgur.

The Frugal Chef

Farmers are frugal but not pound foolish, using their resources to their potential while also enhancing them for the next season.. We cannot afford to waste our grasses, our garden, or our orchard or woods. The goal is to use them wisely. You can and probably do, adopt the same attitude in the kitchen. Waste is a bad thing in all aspects of life - it’s just plain sinful. So let’s talk about how to make these clean, nutritious meats go a long way at your dinner table.

I’ll use a typical cooler of monthly meats and what you can do with them as our working example of how many individual servings can come from one box. My assumption about weights per serving come from my up bringing in the food business. Chefs assume 4 to 6 ounces of meat per individual serving - and chefs always want to have more food than they think they will need.

  • 1 big fat hen weighs 3 lbs. Roast it and yield 1 breast and 1 hind quarter the first night for 2 servings. Trim the other breast and hind quarter the second night for sandwiches, 4 servings. Simmer the wings and the remaining carcass into stock then scrape the attached meat off, toss the carcass, and make a chicken noodle and vegetable soup. At least 4 soup servings. Total servings from 1 big fat hen: 10.
  • 1 beef roast weighs 2 lbs. Make my favorite, the pot roast with plenty of vegetables included. 5 servings. Or use half of the roast for sandwiches the next night and get 7 or 8 servings from the roast (can you tell that I like sandwiches and soups? You can do so much with them in term of variety of taste and nutrients added). Total servings from one roast: 5 to 8
  • 1 pork roast weighs 2 lbs. Ditto the above. Total servings per roast: 5 to 8
  • 2 beef steaks weigh 28 ounces. Treat yourself and get only 2 (massive) servings from the steaks. Total: 2 servings
  • 1 pkg pork or beef shanks weigh 1 lb. Make Osso Bucco and serve 4 or make a pot of beans with the shanks as the compliment and serve 6. Total servings: 4 to 6.
  • 2 pkgs ground beef weighs 2 lbs. Use 1 to make spaghetti carbonara for 4 servings and the other to make quarter pound burgers for 4 more. Or make a beef vegetable soup and add 2 more servings. Total servings: 8-10
  • 2 pkgs ground pork weighs 2 lbs. Ditto above. Total servings: 8-10
  • 2 pkgs country sausage weighs 28 ounces. Grill and eat and get 7 servings or make a sausage and bean on rice dish and extend it to 10 hearty servings. Total servings: 7 to 10.
  • 1 pkg beef or pork cutlets weighs ½ pound: Bread it and fry in your pork lard and make 2 servings. Total servings: 2

As a frugal chef, you will yield at least 51 and as many as 66 generous servings from 1 cooler of meat. And I have no doubt that you will find even more ways to stretch it - these are the obvious ones.

Food is life, just as essential as  air, water and sunshine. We can have it all if we are frugal and wise.

My Favorite Meal

Long time subscribers have heard my raves about pot roast before. And while it takes some time on the front end, it is almost care-free cooking after that. Most of your time is spent doing something else because it is a slow cook method that requires little attention once the pot is ready to cook. And when it is ready, you get a balanced meal all in one pot — you’re eating like Thomas Jefferson. Protein, fat, vegetables and a fruit. And it is even better after spending 24 hours in the fridge, so you can make it on a weekend and have several meals during the coming
week. One last advantage — it works for beef or pork roast.

I saw a couple of recipe enhancements recently that I pass on here. The first is dusting your roast with flour before browning it in the pot (this step follows the sauteeing of your vegetables). The other was adding red wine and cognac (or any brandy) to your chicken stock before starting the slow cooking stage. So here’s the outline: sauté your chunky carrots, celery, bell pepper, garlic and potatoes (I add mushrooms too), remove them, dust your roast, brown it, throw the vegs back in, add a ½ cup of chicken stock, a ½ cup of wine, and 1/4 cup of cognac, bring to a simmer, lower the heat and cook until fork tender. I sometimes thicken the gravy with a butter roux and serve the whole dish over wild and brown rice, your choice. The harmony of vegetables, meat and wine brings unsurpassed dining to your family table. Builds those family bonds with food from the kitchen to the table. It’s a good thing.