Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Meet Ribeye and T-Bone + Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

Since Monday was a vegetarian recipe, today here's one for the carnivores.  Remember when I said I'd be partaking in a cow share?

Meet Ribeye and T-Bone.

Ribeye (left) and T-Bone (right) as babies.
The email I received about them from their owner said "Ribeye and T-Bone Say 'Hi We're Tasty!'".  When I saw their baby picture, it made me sad to think that in a few short months, they'd be food.  I thought you weren't supposed to name the animals that you eat but what do I know.  My friend Amy said she visited the farm herself and saw how they were raised.  She assured me they had a really good life and quite well taken care of while alive.  They were grass fed cows that were raised using organic methods by her co-worker on his personal land.  Amy bought 1/4 of T-Bone and of that, we purchased 1/4 of that for a total of 1/16th of a cow share for our personal consumption.  It was a hot, dry Summer here in Ohio which resulted in less grass for T-Bone and Ribeye to graze upon.  Thus, they ended up smaller than anticipated.  Just about 1000 pounds.  After all the processing, our total yield was just roughly 20 pounds of meat.  A lot of time and effort goes into such a small amount of meat and now I understand why it is better for our planet if we would reduce our consumption of it.

In all, our part of the share included:
  • 1.2 lb stew meat
  • ~2 lb round steak
  • 2.58 lb flat iron steak
  • 1.27 lb sirloin strip steak
  • 1.10 lb filet mignon
  • 1.5 lb brisket
  • 1.58 lb soup beef bones
  • 3.33 lb beef chuck steak
  • 1.04 lb ribeye steak
  • 8 lb ground beef
  • 1 ox tail
Our 1/16th cow share in our side-by-side freezer.
We needed surprisingly less room needed than we anticipated.
Now here's where the story gets a little bit sad.  We stored our beef in our spare refrigerator which is kept the basement.  Sometime over Christmas, the circuit broke on that outlet along with 3 others in the house.  While we noticed our outdoor Christmas lights mysteriously stopped working, it never occurred to us that other outlets could also have been affected.  It wasn't until 2 or 3 days later that my husband went to the basement and to his horror, saw a bloody puddle forming underneath the refrigerator.  We felt the beef and though it felt cool to the touch, it clearly had thawed almost completely.  We deemed it too risky to try to eat or save and with a heavy heart, threw away nearly all our precious cow share.  I had only used the tail (mom made a great soup out of it), the stew meat, and the round steak.  The brisket is safe at Amy's house because it's a part of a giant chunk of meat which we could not divide as it was frozen.  We had plans to grill the steaks when the summer got warmer.  I felt so guilty that T-Bone had died in vain...

So this brings me to the meat that we DID get to enjoy.  This stew was sweet and salty and comforting.  I enjoyed the use of sweet potatoes instead of the regular run of the mill potatoes.  The flavor contrast was lovely.  It was by far the most tender, rich beefy tasting meat I have ever had.  Given this wasn't even that premium of a cut, it makes me lament the more prime cuts that will never be tasted.

RIP T-Bone.  You were a good cow.

Two Years Ago:  Cookies and Cream Oreo Look-Alike Cake and Stovetop Mac and Cheese
Three Years Ago: Vegetable Soup (with Optional Sausage for the Men)

Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

Yields: 6 servings

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour with a big pinch of salt and pepper 
  • 1 1/4 pound stew beef, cut into 1-inch chunks 
  • about 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely diced 
  • 2 cups peeled and thickly sliced carrots 
  • 3/4 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned and cut in half 
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced 
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste 
  • 1/2 cup light beer (I used red wine)
  • 1 pound sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1-inch chunks 
  • 4 cups beef broth (more if you’d like it more soupy) 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar 
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • couscous, rice, or pasta and parsley to serve 

  1. In a large ziplock bag, place flour, salt, and pepper. Add diced beef. Close the bag. Hold it tight and shake, ensuring that all of the beef is lightly coated in flour and seasoning.  Set aside. 
  2. In a large dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add as much beef as will fit along the bottom of the pan in a single layer. Cook, browning on all sides. The beef doesn’t need to be cooked through, just browned. Once all of the beef is cooked, remove from the pan and place on a plate. Set aside. 
  3. In the same dutch oven, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add onions and carrots and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic, and cook for another 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and heat through. Deglaze the pan with the beer or wine, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan as the beer steams. 
  4. Add the sweet potatoes, and cover with beef broth. Add bay leaf, thyme, and Worcestershire sauce. 
  5. Add beef. Turn heat to low and let gently simmer for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked through. Taste and add sugar (this helps the acidity), salt, and pepper as necessary.  Remove the bay leaf. 
  6. Serve stew over couscous, rice, or pasta with fresh parsley if desired.

Source: Joy the Baker

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