Ground Beef

Burgers for Many

As we enter the grilling season, lets assume you’re having the neighbors over for burgers. There will be twelve mouths to feed. Unless you’re cooking to order, your first patty is going to dry out before it gets to the bun. What to do?

Here’s my solution. Have a pot of beef broth on a warm spot. Add some butter to it. Make your burgers and hold them in the broth. If you want to add some bbq sauce to the broth, do that too. When you’re ready to eat, pull them out one at a time, dripping in juices. And have a great spring/summer, living large.

Recipe: Bean Pot

We have included some budget-stretching tips in our last 2 deliveries but left one off - beans and summer peas, fortified, enhanced and flavored with our meats. Whether you like pintos, black beans, purple hull, blackeyes, navy or Great Northern beans and peas, making a big pot of beans and meats is a crowd pleaser, economical and a multi-meal treat that is good for you in so many ways. And there appears to be no significant drop-off in taste or nutrition if you choose fresh, dry, or fresh frozen. Here’s how I do it.

Back to the Bean Pot

In your bean pot, add enough olive oil and butter to keep things from sticking. Brown your meat, be that ground pork or beef, or any of our sausages cut into slices. Remove meats when cooked, and add a mirepoix (see our cooking book if that term is strange to you). I suggest diced onion, celery and bell pepper. Fresh jalapeno if you like a little fire. When the vegetables are softened, add beans or peas and stock or water. Cook at slow simmer until beans are softened. Season as you go until your liking. Pop it further with some Tabasco if you like. Enjoy as a 1 piece meal. Make a lot and cover more than one dinner. Delicious and nutritious. While it is “Carby”, these are all complex carbs so much better than pasta, white rice or other processed carbs.

Recipe: Asian Pork Meatballs

Nishta Mehra brings on the exotic with this recipe. She assures that the eating makes the complexity worth our while.

Nishta’s Porky Asian Meatballs

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground pork (or beef)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon shaoxing cooking wine, mirin, or sake
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 green onion, chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 large eggs, beaten (2 if you want firmer meatballs)
  • ¼ cup green bean starch (if unavailable, cornstarch will work just fine)
  • 1 pound bok choy, stems trimmed but otherwise intact

Directions:

  1. Combine everything but the eggs, starch, and bok choy together in a large bowl and mash vigorously until well-blended. I just use my hands.
  2. Add the starch and mix with a fork (I withdraw the hands-on approach at this point because the starch makes it quite sticky). Beat the eggs and add, mixing again to incorporate. The mixture will seem extremely liquid at first -- just continue to mix and the egg will gradually absorb into the pork, leaving a thick porridge-like mixture. If you want rounder and firmer meatballs that you can shape with your hands, use two eggs instead of three. I thought this yielded meatballs that were lovely and tender, so I used three.
  3. Pour about 1/4 cup of oil into a large wok, or enough to coat the bottom with about 1/2 inch of oil. Turn the heat to medium and give the oil a few minutes to warm up. Using a 1/4-cup measuring cup or a large ice cream scoop, drop balls of the pork mixture into the wok in a single layer. Let sizzle in the pan for 2 to 3 minutes or until browned, then flip and cook the other side. Once the meatball is browned on both sides (it doesn't have to be cooked through), remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. You will likely have to fry in two batches.
  4. Once all the meatballs are browned, line the bottom of a large pot with the bok choy leaves. Place the meatballs on top and turn the heat to medium-low. Cover and let steam for 30 to 40 minutes, or until bok choy leaves have wilted and the stems are tender. Serve with rice!

Recipe: Beef, Broccoli & Potato Soup

Beef Broccoli & Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 4 T. Olive oil
  • 2 T. Butter, if using cubed beef, ½ of that if ground beef
  • ½ lb. or more, ground or cubed beef, depending on how beefy you want it
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 3/4 cup cubed potato
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups beef broth  

Directions:

  1. Salt and pepper the beef, set aside.
  2. Saute the onion, garlic, celery (the “holy trinity”) and potato in oil and butter. When softened, remove vegetables.
  3. Saute the beef until browned. Dust the beef with whole wheat flour.
  4. Add sauteed vegetables back to the mix and allow to simmer: if ground beef, 30 minutes, if cubed, 1 hour.
  5. Add broccoli florets in last 15 minutes of cooking. Adjust times depending on tenderness of beef, broccoli and potatoes. 

This will serve 2 heartily. Double the recipe if for 4 or 5. Serve with crusty rolls and a Rose’ wine.

Recipe: BBQ Burgers

Simple recipe of the month from JVF subscriber, Lea Harkrider.

BBQ Burgers

Lea says she has her children begging for more with this simple recipe. In a pound of ground pork, mix a quarter cup of your favorite BBQ sauce and some ground pepper and fry them up for burgers or chopped steaks. Even better if served with caramelized onions and Jolie Vue bacon.  Way to go, Lea. Sounds like a winner to us.

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.

Recipe: Minestrone Soup

Here is a recipe for soup that always makes for a balanced meal. Just right for the diet and the coming cool nights, adapted from a “Dining” publication:

Meaty Minestrone Soup

For the soup:

  • 1 lb ground beef or pork from JVF
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 3 bushy sprigs thyme
  • 4 parsley sprigs
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini or yellow squash (or half of each for color), diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 pound fresh shell beans, shelled (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 plum tomatoes (about 3/4 pound), diced
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green beans

For the pistou:

  • 4 cups fresh basil, packed
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped plum tomato
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. In a large pot over medium-low heat, heat the oil. Add the beef or pork and sauté until cooked. Remove the meat and set aside. Tie rosemary, thyme and parsley in a bundle with kitchen string if desired (this makes it easier to fish out later). Add the herbs, leeks, garlic, zucchini or yellow squash, carrot, salt and pepper to the pot and sauté until the vegetables are golden, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Add broth, shell beans, tomatoes, green beans and 4 cups water to the pot. Simmer partly covered until the beans are tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Discard herbs, add the meat back into the soup and simmer for another 10 minutes. Thin with a little water if the soup is too thick.
  3. Prepare the pistou: Pulse the basil, almonds, tomato, Parmesan, garlic and salt in a food processor until basil is chopped and all the ingredients are combined. Drizzle in olive oil while the motor runs and continue processing until a paste forms. Serve the soup with dollops of the pistou, letting people add more as needed.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Recipe: John Henry Boudreaux’s Best Burger Ever

From our baby boy, John Henry, who returned to his writer’s studio in Brooklyn recently with a bag full of JVF ground beef and made a burger. Sounds good, J-boy, plus it stretches the budget, using only 2 ounces per serving.

John Henry Boudreaux’s Best Burger Ever

  1. Take about 2 oz. of beef and form very thinly; salt and pepper.
  2. Turn the heat up high. When the pan is about to scream paint it with butter and add minced garlic.
  3. Cook 40 sec. each side and then turn off and cover for about 30 sec. This will give you a med. cook.
  4. Toast an English muffin with sharp cheddar add mustard and red onion.  Eat.  Best Burger ever!