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Learning to love cheap cuts of meat...  RSS feed

 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1659
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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I have challenged myself to learn some new recipes, aiming for about 1 per week, and I'll probably be focusing on cheaper cuts of meats but not necessarily. (not cheap low quality meat, just the less desirable cuts). This is branching out for me, as lots of the good recipes for these involve long slow cooking, making stocks and generally preparing longer in advance than I tend to!

Some limitations - I can't eat any alliums, so none of these recipes will have onions, garlic, leeks etc... Many printed recipes call for these, so I'm experimenting slightly as I go.

Slow Roasted Lamb Shanks
Not a cheap cut, but I was cooking for a special occasion - feeding the inlaws. This was cooked for ages but only took about 20 minute preparation time in all.


(Not my picture but this is pretty much how it came out - lots of liquid and a fabulous rich umami flavour

4 lamb shanks
Celery
Mushrooms
Carrots
Half a bottle of red wine (cheap!)
Some lard for frying
A big bundle of fresh herbs (mostly rosemary, thyme)
2 stock cubes (or proper stock)

Fry the shanks on a high heat in a heavy cast iron pot to seal and brown them.
Deglaze the pan with the red wine and throw in chopped celery, carrots, herbs and two stock cubes.
Add water to cover the meat.
Bring to the boil
Put the lid on the place the pot in the oven on a low heat (160C) and leave it for ages. 3 hours is great but it isn't hurt at all by cooking for a lot longer at say 140C. Check the liquid levels occasionally.
Finally, 20 minutes before serving throw in the whole mushrooms on top. You want them to cook but not disappear into the liquid as mush.
Serve with mashed potatoes or similar.

The meat should be deliciously tender and fall apart from the bone. Any remaining juices made a fabulous soup for the following lunch. As an optional extra, you can reduce the liquid down by uncovering the lid in the final stages of cooking to make a thicker, richer sauce.

Next up - steak and kidney pie!
 
Renate Howard
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Location: zone 6b
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Americans don't eat meat pie like other parts of the world, and I've yet to try it, but am sure tempted! Not knowing what it's supposed to turn out like has been my stopping point!

This week I'm making corned beef, in honor of St. Patrick's Day next week (tho I hear corned beef isn't even irish?) Very easy to make the brine and soak the meat in it all week. I'm going to try it with beef round sometime because once cooled it slices so nicely for sandwiches. Once brined we cook it in beer, malt vinegar, mustard, dill, pepper, caraway, and coriander with carrots, onions, potatoes, and cabbage. I use Michael Ruhlman's recipe for the brine from his book Charcuterie (http://ruhlman.com/2010/03/corned-beef-how-to-cure-your-own/ here's his write-up with the recipe), but the cooking instructions from the 1995 Sunset Recipe Annual cookbook.
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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i agree that making meat go further can be a real fun way to cook..I'm finding that where I used to use an entire package of meat with one meal, now i can generally make a package last 2 or 3 meals with a little creativity..and actually we seem to enjoy it better.

I'm using odds and ends of meat that i wouldn't normally think of using in the ways I am..like say (i cook for 3)..pulling 3 hot dogs out of a package of frozen..and cut them up and use them in a dish..say macaroni and cheese, scalloped potatos, beans, bean soup, etc.. OR cut a 1/2 a large sausage up and do it the same way..

I also find if you brown the meat well it has more flavor and it makes the meat go farther cause there is more meat flavor.

soups are a really good way to extend meat, or stews, or meat sauces for pasta..or just a bit in a grilled cheese sandwich or in some eggs..
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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Renate, I made a lovely chicken pot pie recipe last week..i dont' measure or write things down but this is about how I did it..first i microwaved a few potatoes to nearly done and cut them up into cubes..then i put a bunch of onion and garlic with butter in a large skillet and sweated them out, then added vegetables (I put in mixed frozen) and flour and stirred to make a rue and then put in some broth until I got a good gravey consistancy...salt pepper and herbs were added with the flour..I almost forgot that.

i put this into 3 individual casserole dishes but any dish would do..and i topped it with pie crust rounds..baked 350 for about 35 min until the crust began to brown..
 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Crock pots, and pressure cookers are both excellent ways to utilize the cheaper cuts of meat.
Two methods to render tougher meats into tender meals.

The slow cookers work by slow simmering for hours, which makes the meats more tender.
Pressure cookers achieve the same results by using the opposite approach.
Higher heat turns the liquid into pressurized steam which penetrates the tough meat.

Almost any used book store will have books devoted to these two styles of cooking.

Crock pots can often be started in the morning, then left on low all day.
Stew is ready when you get home from work.

Pressure cookers are quick. From start to finish, a pot of beans will take about an hour.
 
Lane Morgan
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We are lucky to have a Mexican butcher shop in town--lots of cheaper cuts there including tongue, tripe, and for the less adventurous, carne asada, which is (I think) flank steak cut on the bias, very very thin. At any rate it's a tough and tasty cut and a little goes a long way. Each year I use it to make bracciole for our housemate on his birthday. He's from a Sicilian family in New Jersey and finds it hard to get that kind of home cooking in Bellingham. It's a good one to make in quantity and freeze. There are lots of fancier recipes, with prosciutto and other treats, but Robert says this is the most like his grandmother's.

(If you're a Jersey Sicilian you pronounce it bro-zhole and you call the spaghetti sauce gravy.)

The carne asada is so thin it is stretchy, so when you roll it up with around a filling it kind of seals itself together.

Ingredients
3 lbs carne asada (or round steak, sliced sandwich thin)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup chopped garlic
2 cups fresh parsley
1 cup grated romano cheese
olive oil
Your favorite spaghetti sauce--maybe a quart of it?

Mix the garlic, salt and pepper, parsley and romano cheese together.
Put a teaspoonful or two of mixture onto each steak.
Roll up and secure with toothpick.
Brown in heated olive oil.
Add spaghetti sauce and simmer 30-40 minutes.

This serves a crowd. We had eight well-feed people last time, plus a bunch of leftovers.
 
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