Monday, December 10, 2012

A Month of Sunday Dinners

We have a lot of customers who ask for recipe and meal suggestions using our meat cuts....cuts they may be somewhat unfamiliar with as we have a somewhat old fashioned butcher who believes that 'hearty' is the best  description for a shoulder or ham roast. Thus, some cuts may be less 'trimmed' than the commercial pork you see in the supermarket. Now the issue of whether animal fat is good for you or not, is still being debated in health circles. It would seem to me that the human body does require some fat and better it comes from an organic pig than from GMO modified soybeans or canola. We render our extra pork fat to make lard which I use for baking and for making pan-fries or pancakes or eggs. Tasty!

Now to the month of Sunday dinners.  This months packages included;
One chicken
Organic pork ribs
Organic pork shoulder roast
Organic pork chops
Organic lamb sausage
Organic leg of lamb roast

Here's what I have prepared with our package (We use the same one for our own menu, so I can try out the various cuts in different recipes.)

Roast chicken: thaw and rinse chicken. Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with generous amounts of chopped rosemary, thyme and oregano. Roast at 350 till done. Alternatively, sprinkle with Montreal Steak Spice which makes a nice peppery skin.  Serve with favorite side dishes.

Chicken soup:  break apart left over chicken carcass. Cover with cold water. Add some chopped onion and carrot. Simmer for two hours. Remove carcass, keep left over bits of meat, return to pot. I add a box of organic chicken stock at this point for more volume.  Add finely chopped vegetables, rice, potatoes or noodles and season to taste. Delicious chicken soup!

Organic Pork Shoulder Roast:   thaw roast overnight and if cooking in crock pot, set on medium, add meat, seasoned with salt and pepper and a cup of water. Cook until pull apart tender. Remove roast, shred meat. Cover with BBQ sauce of choice and reheat. Pile on buns or serve with favourite side dishes. Instead of a crock pot, use oven and cover roast in a pan and cook until very tender (approx 3 hours at 350.00). Shred and mix with BBQ sauce.  A delicious easy to prepare supper if you serve it on crusty rolls with coleslaw or a salad.

Organic Pork Chops:  my favourite quick way to do chops is to thaw them overnight and layer them with bottled saurkraut in a covered roasting dish and bake them in the oven for approx 90 minutes. Absolutely tender meat and easy to serve with the saurkraut, a baked potato and a salad or vegetables.  Alternatively, you can put them on the BBQ or grill in a pan on the stovetop. I usually season them with rosemary and thyme. Tom prefers them sprinkled with Montreal Steak Spice. After grilling or frying, you can also slice into thin strips, stir fry some green, red and yellow peppers and onions, season to taste with Tex Mex spices, add the meat, pile generously into tortillas and serve with guacamole and black beans.  You can also use your pork shoulder roast the same way.  The key to tender pork for burritos or fajitas is to cook the chops or roast until very tender and then slice or shred to add to the dish. If you cook small bits of raw pork they get tough!

Leg of Lamb:  Nothing simpler!  Thaw lamb and take sharp knife and remove thin transparent 'fell' from the meat. It comes right off if you insert a sharp knife blade and just slide it along the surface of the roast. If you don't want to do that, just cook it as is.  I marinate the leg with olive oil and rosemary and thyme, oregano and minced garlic.  If you haven't planned that far ahead, season with salt and pepper.  Roast, uncovered in a 350 oven until done. (about 20 minutes per lb).  I add about half a cup of water to the pan so the drippings don't burn. Remove roast and set aside under foil while you add a cup of water and half a cup of red wine (if available) to the juices and simmer, stirring the pan to loosen the drippings. MJix a forkful of flour into a half cup of cold water and stir until smooth. Add slowly to the pan (while drippings are bubbling) stirring to mix in smoothly. When mixture is as thick as desired, simmer for one minute and strain if neccessary. Slice roast, plate and ladle gravy over meat.  Serve with mashed potatoes or rice or couscous or your favorites.

Morrocan Lamb Stew:  if there is any lamb remaining after your roast lamb dinner, you can have roast lamb sandwiches, or if there is a lot left, I usually make a quick Morrocan lamb stew. Remove meat from lamb bone and cube. If you are particularly thrifty, put bone in cold water, chop in an onion and couple of cloves of garlic and set it to simmer.  For the stew:  Chop one onion, one carrot and two cloves of garlic and saute in saucepan in whichever oil or lard you prefer. Add half a level teaspoon of the following: cinamon, cumin, turmeric, ground ginger, black pepper, nutmeg, alspice and cardamom. Add one eight teaspoon of cayenne, cloves, ground corriander. Mix well into onions and garlic. Add cubed lamb, one can of drained chickpeas and one can of stewed tomatoes.  Simmer all for half an hour to an hour. Serve over rice or couscous or quinoi.

Now back to the lamb bone. Once you have a nice lamby broth, remove bone, trim any left over meat and return to the pot. Peel and dice two or three large potatoes, three or four carrots and add to the pot. Cook until tender. Use immersion blender or put into blender or food mill and whirl until smoothish. some chunks remaining are okay. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Organic Lamb Sausages: grill or fry as is. (Put a little water in the saucepan and a lid until sausage is almost done, then remove lid and fry until brown on outside or slice up (frozen) and add to stir fry.

Organic Pork Ribs:  Thaw,  lay flat in roasting pan, add 1 cup water and bake until tender (approx 1.5 hours) Cover with your favorite BBQ sauce, return to pan for an additional 40 minutes. Alternatively, a quick way to make ribs in the crock pot is to thaw, add a jar of your favorite pasta sauce and let the whole thing cook at medium until ribs are tender. Or you can make your own mixture of tomatoes and herbs and spices and add that to the crock pot.