You’ll begin to notice, I reckon, that my food posts are going to take a certain tilt going forward. They’ve pretty much been leaning precariously that way for a while, right? My food journey is very much now geared away from fancy and will be aimed squarely at economical, sustainable, smart, ethical and nourishing. I’m going to focus on different techniques and approaches that achieve these aims.
Today, we’re going to look at cheap meat eating.
As you know, I’m an ambassador for Love Food Hate Waste, and the beef and lamb industry’s Target 100 sustainability program (connecting farmers and consumers and getting us all on the same page). I’ll be writing more on this over the next few months.
For now, though, I’ve enlisted my mate Anthia from Ovvio Organics to share a few recipes from her ebook I Am Food, which is full of sustainable conscious food for good health. I’m jumping ahead to recipes (before exploring the theory) because I want you to get excited…and to experience her book. We met ages ago at our dear friend Marty’s Longrain restaurant in Sydney (if you know the restaurant and want to do your bit when eating out, know that they adhere to sustainable principles in the kitchen) and have reconnected via my meditation teacher and training guru. She’s on the same page as me when it comes to cooking philosophies. We chatted, thus:
* Use lesser-known or less fashionable cuts of meat or the whole animal. My favourites are beef cheeks and lamb shanks. Anthia loves lamb shanks. Many less expensive, bone-in cuts tend to boast extra nutrients, gelatinous compounds, quality fats and minerals. You’ve read my views on bone broth, right? I love what Anthia does with her duck (below). She cooks it up, then uses it three ways.
* Slow-cookers are wonderful. They effortlessly tenderise these lesser-known cuts of meat. They’re cheap to buy (about $50 at Kmart) and to run. You plonk in ingredients, press play and come back after work to a done meal.
* Mince is magic. Butchers use left over portions and extra fatty ‘bits & bobs’ to create mince, which means when you buy the stuff, you’re contributing your bit to minimising waste.
* Love your freezer. Hearty meat dishes can be cooked in bulk with leftovers eaten the next day (when they taste better) or frozen to eat down the track. Flavours will only intensify, plus a full freezer is a more economical one. Again, doing your bit.
But for now, let’s get cooking. These are some of Anthia’s favourites…and they’re wonderfully Autumnal, don’t you reckon?
Sweet Onion Meatballs
These are bite-sized healthy, protein goodness.
- 400g minced beef, chicken, lamb, pork or a mixture of beef and pork
- 65g butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 egg yolks (keep egg whites for an omelette)
- 1 ground tsp of OVViO Organic Tuscan or Provincial or Mexican or Indian Herb & Spice Blends
- natural salt
Preheat the oven first at 220 ̊C. Melt half the butter in a pan on low, add onion and stir until transparent. Season with dried herbs and spices and salt. Mix together the cooked onion, the mince and egg yolks in a bowl. Shape the mixture into 8 -12 balls. Melt the remaining butter in a pan and add olive oil on medium heat. Add the meatballs, turning frequently, until cooked and golden brown. Alternatively you may wish to bake your meatballs. Rub butter and oil in baking dish and place meatballs in dish and bake. Serve with finely chopped fresh parsley and lemon wedges or with dips. Or,
- Add to lunch boxes with vegetable sticks.
- Bake meatballs in homemade tomato sauce and grated parmesan cheese.
- Wrap in lettuce with a dip or dressing.
- Serve with fresh, raw or cooked salads or vegetables.
To make patties, flatten balls with your hands and cook on each side until golden brown. You can replace onions with shallots or leeks. Ghee works best as a fat for Indian flavoured meatballs. Grind spices just before use in a mortar and pestle to offer intensity in flavour.
Spicy Beef & Coconut Pumpkin Curry
- 1 kilo of beef stewing chuck steak cut into cubes
- 2 medium brown onions cut into cubes
- 3 tbsp of OVViO Organic Indian Herb & Spice Blend
- half a medium pumpkin, sliced thickly
- 2 stalks of celery, sliced
- 4 tbsp of coconut oil
- 1 cup of water
- 1 fresh young coconut with flesh and water scooped out and puréed
- natural salt
This dish works very well by first sautéing the Indian Spice Blend with onions and celery in the coconut oil, followed by the meat until brown but not cooked all the way through. Place pumpkin in slow cooker with natural salt and water, coconut purée and pour over brown meat with onions, celery and spices. Cover and cook on low for eight hours in your slow cooker. Serve with steamed vegetables, Minty cucumber yoghurt and freshly chopped coriander leaves.
Tip: If you don’t have a slow food cooker you can cook these meals in a cast iron pot like a Le Creuset or Chasseur. Cook in oven @ 120 degrees for 6-8 hours. This is best done on the weekend.
Preheat the oven to 220 ̊C. Wash the duck with water and rub salt all over and in cavity. Lay in a roasting tin breast down. Turn oven temperature down to 120 ̊C and roast until golden brown on one side. Remove from oven and drain the duck fat in a glass jar (this is for keeps when roasting vegetables or pan frying meat or eggs).
Turn duck over and put back in oven to achieve golden brown skin on the other side. Make sure the duck is cooked by piercing with a large fork. If the fluid is clear the duck is cooked. If fluid is pink cook for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. Cover with baking paper and allow to rest and cool. Pull off duck meat to serve with vegetables, and use the leftovers to make one of the recipes below.
1. Oriental Duck Soup
Keep the duck bones to make a delicious Oriental duck soup. Simmer in a pot of water with extra salt for two hours on low to medium heat. Also add a little splash of apple cider vinegar to help the bones breakdown and yield their mineral nutrients. Drain the liquid and discard bones. Put the liquid back in the pot and add one tsp of ground OVViO Organic Oriental Herb & Spice Blend. One cup of thinly sliced carrots, two sliced celery stalks and leaves, three finely sliced spring onions and two cups of finely chopped kale. Simmer until vegetables are cooked and serve. You can add some of the roast duck meat in each bowl.
2. Roast Duck, Cucumber, Orange & Pomegranate Salad
- 1 Lebanese cucumber, sliced
- 1 orange or grapefruit, segmented
- 1⁄2 cup of pomegranate fruit seeds
- 1 cup of fresh mint and coriander leaves
- 2 spring onions, sliced
- juice of 1 orange
- natural salt
- cracked pepper
Shred duck meat and skin and put in a bowl. Add cucumber, mint, spring onions and coriander leaves, orange segments and pomegranate fruit seeds.
3. Leftover Duck Meat Lettuce Wraps
- roast duck meat, well chopped
- 2 shallots, sliced
- 1 cucumber, diced
- grapefruit segments
- 1 bunch coriander, finely chopped
- 8 large crispy lettuce leaves
- lime or grapefruit juice
- extra chilli for heat
- natural salt
- cracked black pepper
Add all ingredients except for lettuce leaves in a bowl, mix and place in lettuce leaves. Wrap and serve. Shred duck meat and skin and put in a bowl. Add cucumber, mint, spring onions and coriander leaves, orange segments and pomegranate fruit seeds.
Orange Salad Dressing
Add natural salt, orange juice and cracked black pepper, and shake in a jar. Pour over salad in bowl, toss and serve on a platter.
This is the lovely Anthia. If you’re in Sydney you must stop by her shop and cafe in Paddington.
She makes beautiful teas (ask for sweet Lemon one) and it is there you can buy some of her magical vanilla powder which I use ad nauseum in my recipe books.
You can find the I Am Food recipe ebook here.
Got some cheap meat questions for either of us…post away…