Pan-roasted Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola, Asparagus and Porcini Demi-glace

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..

Pan-roasted Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola, Asparagus and 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

Blackberry-Blue Cornmeal Pancakes with Guajillo Honey Butter

Heirloom blue cornmeal, fresh local blackberries, pastured eggs, cultured butter, fresh buttermilk and wild guajillo honey with a pinch of chili powder..

Blackberry-Blue Cornmeal Pancakes with Guajillo Honey Butter

1 cup organic stone-ground blue cornmeal
1 1/2 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 cup fresh blackberries or blueberries
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
2 large pastured eggs
2 tablespoon cultured butter, melted plus 2 tablespoons cold
2 cups fresh buttermilk
1 teaspoon bacon drippings
2 tablespoons wild guajillo honey

Sift cornmeal, flour, baking soda, chili powder and salt together in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and melted butter.  Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry, stirring just enough to combine. Gently fold in blackberries and allow mixture to stand 5 minutes.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter and 1 teaspoon bacon drippings in a heavy griddle or comal set over medium heat.  Drop batter by the quarter-cupful onto the hot pan and cook until the batter puffs up and bubbles appear along the edges, then flip and cook until golden brown. If making a large batch, pancakes may be kept in a low oven until ready to serve.

To serve, arrange pancakes on a plate and top with guajillo honey and semi-melted butter.  Garnish with additional fresh berries and serve hot.

Guajillo Pods

“Guajillo honey looms large in the history, culture and economy of southwestern Texas, particularly in the development of Uvalde County, located about 165 miles southwest of the state capital, Austin. During the 1870’s when settlers were establishing farms and ranches in Uvalde County, they discovered caves and hollow trees full of bees and honey- a bee paradise. The land was nicknamed ‘brush country’ because of the cat claw, kinnikinnick, white brush and Guajillo bushes…” -Slow Food USA

Chappal Kebab with Fresh Green Chutney and Almond-Raisin Basmati

Freshly-ground pastured lamb with onions, garlic, chiles and toasted spices is sizzled in cardamom-scented ghee and  served over almond-raisin basmati with a chutney of fresh mint, coriander, ginger and yogurt..

Chappal Kebab with Fresh Green Chutney and Almond-Raisin Basmati

For the Chutney (adapted from a recipe by Madhur Jaffrey)

2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Wash fresh mint and coriander (cilantro) leaves, pat dry and place in the bowl of a food processor along with the ginger, yogurt and lemon juice.  Pulse until finely chopped, then season to taste with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the Rice

1 cup basmati rice
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons raisins, chopped
2 tablespoons raw almonds, blanched, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon dried rose hips (optional)
1 teaspoon good curry powder

Cook rice in stock in the normal manner, then add raisins,  almonds, rose hips and curry.  Stir to combine.  Add 1 1/2 tablespoons pan juices from the following recipe just before serving.

Chappal Kebab

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, toasted
6 cloves
1 tablespoon sweet cinnamon shards
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/3 of a whole nutmeg

1 pound freshly-ground pastured lamb
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 hot green chiles, minced
2 tablespoons ghee
6 green cardamom pods
1 sprig fresh curry leaves
1 fresh bay leaf

Grind the first 6 ingredients together in a coffee or spice grinder and set aside.

Loosely combine ground lamb together in a bowl with onions, garlic, chiles and ground spices.  Divide mixture into 8 2oz pieces, using your hands to roll each into a not too-tightly packed ball, then set aside.

Heat ghee in a heavy skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add cardamom pods, bay and curry leaves and sizzle 2 minutes.  Add lamb and cook until cooked through and crispy-brown on the outside, about 15 minutes.  Briefly set aside to drain, then strain some of the butter & pan juices into the rice.

To serve, spoon rice into the center of a serving dish and arrange lamb over the top.  Dress with chilled green chutney and serve immediately.

Khorma Pilau

Pastured chicken pieces are marinated in yogurt with lots of fresh ginger, garlic and ground coriander, then seared in ghee with yellow onions, green chiles, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric and mace before being slow-simmered in coconut cream thickened with ground almonds.  Extremely flavorful, but not too spicy..

Khorma Pilau

1 whole chicken
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons freshly-grated ginger
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1-2 green chiles
8 green cardamom pods
2 black cardamom pods
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon sweet cinnamon shards
1 teaspoon turmeric
6 whole cloves
1 blade mace
1 sprig fresh curry leaf (optional)
1 cup unsweetened coconut cream
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Cut a fresh, pastured chicken into 8 pieces and remove skin.  Place into a glass bowl and toss with yogurt, ginger, garlic and coriander. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Heat ghee in a heavy skillet over medium heat, then add onions, chiles, cardamom, cumin and curry leaf and sauté until onions are browned. Add chicken with its marinade, cinnamon, turmeric,  coconut cream and water and stir to combine.

Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer until chicken is just tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in ground almonds and cook 10 minutes more.  Adjust seasoning with sea salt freshly-ground black pepper.

Serve over basmati rice pilaf and garnish with chopped cilantro.