Wednesday, December 9, 2009

RFC Cooking Class- How to Cook Grass Fed Beef

We have been asked to teach cooking classes using local ingredients to further the mission of the Farmers' Market at St. Stephen's. Since neither Shannon nor I know anything about cooking red meat, we asked Shannon's husband Matt to help us out. He did a great job!

Here is the menu, some notes and recipes from our early winter cooking class:

Matt Talks Grass Feed Beef:
So I've heard of a couple differing opinions on how to cook grass-fed beef, but one constant remains. Grass-fed beef has less fat and cooks much quicker than grain-fed. For this meal I'm using a london broil. about 1.5" thick. If you have time to marinade over night then do so with your favorite marinade. I like using a simple combination of salt, pepper, garlic powder, worcheshire sauce and a sprinkling of dried oregano. First I douse one side of my steak in worcheshire, sprinkle with salt, pepper,and garlic powder to taste (usually enough of each to lightly cover the surface). Next I sprinkle a light dusting of dried oregano, not too much though it can over power the other flavors.Then I flip the steak over and repeat the process. Cover and refrigerate over night.
If you are short on time you can use a rub and tenderize the meat with a meat tenderizing mallet. In the past I've used left over rubs from when I've made ribs, but they contain sugar which will burn and I wanted my steaks to taste like steaks and not ribs. So... I have been searching for a good steak rub and believe that I have found one. I wanted a little bit of heat and some smokey flavor which the chipotles do both. It's a smoked jalapeno. What's not to like?!Here's the link .
I have found that by adjusting the amounts of ingredients you can customize a rub to your tastes, don't be afraid to experiment! I reduced the amount of black pepper in this rub by 1/3 since it also has chipotle's for heat. Once the rub is made sprinkle it on and rub it in on both sides then tenderize with the mallet. Your breaking down the connective tissue of the meat when you use the mallet. Tenderizing it manually instead of chemically. A process that is also achieved with acids like vinegar, found in most marinades.
First step in preparing to cook grass fed beef is to let it sit out and come to room temperature. The reason being that grass-fed beef contains less fat and cooks quicker. If you took it out of the fridge and started cooking the outside would cook faster than the inside resulting in a steak that looks done but is actually rare and not up to temperature inside. Secondly grass fed beef is better cooked in a pan than on the grill. The precious juices, which keep the meat moist, would be lost on a grill. If grilling, sear meat on both sides at high heat. Then reduce heat to low and baste frequently throughout grilling until the desired internal temperature is reached.

Once the meat has come to room temperature it's time to cook! For this meal I'm going to use a pan and the oven to finish the cooking process. Always pre-heat! Putting a hot steak into a cold pan does no one any good. Get the pan HOT and sear both sides of the meat, about 1-2 minutes per side or until nicely browned. Place the meat in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 10-15 additional minutes turning once about halfway through cooking. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the meat and the cut. Remove the meat about five degrees below your desired temperature. It will continue to cook as it rests. Temperatures are as follows:

Medium Rare:145

Medium: 160

Well Done: 170

London broil, as with most cuts of grass-fed beef, is meant to be served medium rare.
Once time is up remove the meat from the oven (checking to ensure that it is cooked to your liking) cover and let it rest for about ten minutes in a warm place. This will allow the meat to reclaim some of the moisture/juices lost during the cooking process and will make your meal that much more delectable. Once the meat has rested plate it up an serve it according to your recipe or tastes. London broil is served thinly sliced and goes quite well with my roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Recipe to follow.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Fresh Parsley
5 medium to large baking potatoes
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
3 Tablespoons butter (made from pastured cows)
salt and pepper to taste
1 large head roasted garlic (more to taste)
1/2 cup milk (from pastured cows)
Wrap the head of garlic in foil and roast at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until soft. Cook time depends on the size of the head. Boil potatoes until easily pierced with a fork. Drain well, and add the butter, and milk Mash with a potato masher, or use a mixer with a paddle attachment. Once milk, and butter is combined cut the bottom, or root end of the garlic heads off then squeeze them like tiny tubes of tooth paste into the potato mixture. Make sure not to include the papery skins. Add the parsley, salt, and pepper to your liking, and enjoy!

Apple Pie
Makes 1 pie

2 pie crusts (I use the flaky pastry dough from the Joy of Cooking.)
Oven at 350 Degrees

3 pounds of apples- several different varieties, peeled and sliced

Mix with:
1/2 cup of butter, cut up in bits
1 tsp each: ginger, cinnamon
pinch of cardamom
sprinkle of sugar

Roll out pie crusts until they are slightly larger than your pan. Place one in deep dish pie pan, and fill with apple mixture. Cover with other crust, and make four slits in top for venting. Brush with whole milk and sprinle with cinnamon sugar. Bake for at least an hour- perhaps and hour and 15 minutes, until top is golden brown. Serve warm with brown butter ice cream.

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