Gorgeous, pastured lamb from Menzie’s Farm in the Hill Country outside of Austin is misted with Texas olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and cracked black pepper, then flashed in a 500 degree oven for 10 minutes.
The lamb is then packed with a persillade-like mixture of fresh bread crumbs, melted butter and garlic with a bouquet garni of both fresh and dried herbs including rosemary, thyme, savory, marjoram, sage and tarragon.
Next, the lamb is roasted at 400 degrees until the internal temperature reaches 125 degrees (approximately 15-20 minutes), then removed from the oven and allowed to stand 15 minutes before being carved into double chops.
While the lamb rests, dried wild porcini mushrooms are soaked in just-boiled water enhanced with porcini powder, then strained into a pot containing brown stock and toasted shallots. The sauce is furiously reduced by a third and the mushrooms added and simmered for a couple of minutes before being finished with a spoonful of demi-glace and a knob of cold butter.
Served a perfect medium rare, this is one of my all-time favorite things to eat..
American lamb, especially those that are pastured and grass-fed, are generally milder/less gamey in flavor than those from New Zealand and Australia, with young lamb (less than 1 year old) being preferred for its tenderness.
Pastured veal sautéed with fresh crimini mushrooms and cipollini onions, simmered in a reduction of port wine, bone broth, shallots and demi-glace, flavored with fresh English thyme and cracked black pepper..
Sauté quartered brown mushrooms and small cipolline onions (about 1/4 pound of each) in a tablespoon of clarified butter in a heavy skillet until amazing-looking, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer vegetables to a side dish.
Return skillet to temp, add a little more butter and quickly sear a pound 1-1/4-inch cubes until well browned on the edges, but still rare on the inside. Transfer to the side to keep company with the vegetables, leaving the skillet on the burner.
De-glaze the skillet with about 1/3 cup of a good quality port wine, scraping up all the fond (the brown bits on the bottom of the pan, i.e. the best part!) with a wooden utensil.
Add a cup and a half of good roasted bone stock, 1/2 tablespoon of minced shallots and a loose tablespoon of fresh thyme. Bring to a boil then lower to a fast simmer and cook until reduced in volume by half (patience shall reward).
Return the veal, mushroom and onions to the pan and add a tablespoon and a half of demi-glace. Simmer slowly, stirring constantly until the sauce is thick and the veal is just heated through (still a little pink on the inside), maybe 5 minutes.
Off the heat, whisk a tablespoon of cold, cultured butter into the sauce, taste for salt and pepper and serve hot with a favorite side (French beans or asparagus, perhaps).
Pastured veal rib-eye steaks are dry-marinated with sea salt, garlic and herbs, then lightly coated with freshly-cracked black pepper and seared in a very hot, dry cast iron pan. The streaks are finished in a 500 degree oven and served with fresh herbs and a rich, brandied demi-glace with chanterelle mushrooms..
Quite similar to the French classic Blanquette de veau à l’ancienne popularized in America by Julia Child, this preparation features ethically-raised, pastured veal, brown mushrooms, garlic, onions, demi-glace, Madeira wine, heavy cream and fresh thyme. Serve over smashed potatoes or egg noodles..
“Veal usually comes from the male dairy calf or Bob calves, mostly of the Holstein breed. The meat is delicate in flavor, firm, fine grained and of a light pink color. A good Ossobucco con Polenta, made of veal shank, and accompanied by a glass of robust Sangiovese wine, can be the perfect meal for a cold winter evening.
Organic and industrial farming methods of raising the calves differ:
In factory farms, calves are raised indoors in small individual pens and fed intensively and exclusively on milk substitutes with plenty of antibiotics added in for good measure. Herbaceous food is excluded from their diets, resulting in iron deficiency which produces the “desirable” almost white meat of most supermarket veal.
Organically raised calves are fed with their mothers’ milk; fresh, whole and still warm from the cow. After the calves are two weeks old they are kept outdoors (weather permitting), untethered and in small groups of 4-8 where they have adequate space for exercise and social contact with other calves.
Calves will want to pasture when outdoors, which is only natural as grass provides iron and vitamins which they need to grow healthy.
The meat of pastured veal will not be as white as ordinary veal, but that’s a small price to pay for supporting farms that raise healthy and happy calves. ” –LocalHarvest
Pastured quail from Bandera, Texas are dry-brined with sea salt containing sage, rosemary and black pepper, then allowed to air dry in the refrigerator for two hours. The quail is quickly pan-roasted in a small spoonful each of rendered bacon fat and rendered chicken fat until the skin is crisp and the flesh is slightly pink. Served over a bed of stock-simmered farro with roasted vegetables, and topped with a chicken demi-glace with black figs, bacon and roasted spring onion..
For the Sauce (about 1 cup)
1-1/2 cups rich, homemade chicken stock, divided
2 tablespoons roasted chicken demi-glace
1/3 cup black figs, trimmed and quartered
4 pieces thick cut, smoked bacon
roasted spring onions (from the Farro recipe), coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon pan drippings (from the quail)
1 small sprig fresh rosemary, stripped and bruised
Heat the chicken stock in a skillet over medium-low heat until simmering. Add the demi-glace, stir to combine and simmer until reduced and thickened, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cut bacon into 1/2 inch pieces and cook until nicely browned. Transfer bacon to the side to drain, reserving the bacon fat for the next recipe.
Just before service, add the bacon, figs, rosemary and onion and allow to heat through, about 5 minutes.
For the Piccolo Farrotto (adapted from a recipe by Anson Mills)
1 cup farro piccolo
1 quart rich, homemade chicken stock
2-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 fresh bay leaf
2 stalks fresh celery
4 small, fresh carrots, trimmed
2 small spring onions, trimmed (reserved)
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Roast the carrots, celery and onion in a 375 degree oven until browned, about 45 minutes. Set aside.
Turn the farro into a food processor and give it ten 1-second pulses to crack some of the bran that encases the grains. Transfer it to a small bowl.
Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and keep the stock just below a simmer as you cook the farro.
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed 3- or 4-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the minced shallots and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the farro, increase the heat to medium, and stir until the grains are hot and coated with butter, about 1 minute. Stir in the wine and simmer until reduced to a glaze. Add the bay leaf and 1 cup of hot chicken stock and stir once to make sure the grains are covered with liquid. Cook the farro uncovered at the barest simmer; when the liquid has been almost entirely absorbed and the farro begins to look dry, add about 1/2 cup of hot stock, stir once, and simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the farro once again begins to look dry. Continue to cook the farro in this fashion for 1 hour. Coarsley chop and stir in the celery and carrot and continue to cook, adding stock as needed, until the grains have expanded and are tender throughout, without hard, starchy centers, about 20 minutes longer.
Stir in the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. The farrotto should look creamy, not wet or soupy. Taste for seasoning, stir in the parsley, and serve immediately.
For the Quail (serves 4-6)
12 skin-on, boneless quail breasts
2 tablespoons more-or-less sea salt, black pepper and aromatics such as rosemary and sage
2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat
2 tablespoons rendered chicken fat
Season the quail on all sides with the salt mixture then place skin-side up on a plate and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Remove from refrigerator and allow to stand 20 minutes at room temperature.
Heat the bacon and chicken fats over medium in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Blot the quail breasts dry, then place into the skillet skin-side down without crowding. You may need to do this in batches. Allow to cook until nicely browned, then turn and cook until almost medium doneness.
Spoon piccolo farroto onto dinner plates and arrange quail breasts on top (2-3 per person, depending). Spoon demi-glace over the top, garnish with a piece of rosemary and serve piping hot.
2-inch thick filets of grass-fed beef tenderloin are dry brined overnight with sea salt and fresh thyme before being pan-roasted to rare in an iron skillet. The steaks are then topped with Gorgonzola and blanched asparagus tips and finished to medium-rare in a 500 degree oven. Seasoned with smoked black pepper and served over porcini demi-glace..
Quick Demi-Glace, Home Version (adapted from Saveur Magazine)
1/4 lb. uncured bacon, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup sprouted wheat flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2-1/2 quarts homemade beef stock, divided
1/4 cup good red wine (not cooking wine)
1 cup porcini mushrooms, sliced and sauteed
10 sprigs fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 leaves fresh sage
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Render bacon in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes. Add onions and carrots and cook until somewhat softened, about 8 minutes. Use a sifter to sprinkle flour over the vegetables and cook another 10 minutes. Add wine, herbs and 8 cups of stock and simmer uncovered until reduced in volume by three-quarters, about 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
Strain sauce, discarding solids. Return to pan with remaining stock and simmer until reduced by half, about 2 hours (add the mushrooms during last 20 minutes). Demi-glace may be kept in the refrigerator for up to one week or frozen for up to three months.
“Meat from grass-fed animals has two to four times more omega-3 fatty acids than meat from grain- fed animals. Omega-3s are called “good fats” because they play a vital role in every cell and system in your body. For example, of all the fats, they are the most heart-friendly. People who have ample amounts of omega-3s in their diet are less likely to have high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat. Remarkably, they are 50 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack. Omega-3s are essential for your brain as well. People with a diet rich in omega-3s are less likely to suffer from depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder (hyperactivity), or Alzheimer’s disease.” Eat Wild