That 70’s Dinner

If you grew up during the 60’s and 70’s (especially in the Midwest), there’s a good chance you saw your share of chopped beefsteak with mushroom gravy, real mashed potatoes and blue lake green beans.  Here is that iconic comfort food made with local pastured beef, wild mushrooms, just-dug potatoes and Meredith’s homegrown green beans..

Chopped Beefsteak with Mushroom Gravy

For the Beefsteak (serves 2)

12 oz freshly ground pastured beef with at least 15% fat
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
1/3 wild mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
3 whole cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons pastured butter, divided
2 oz burgundy
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon demi-glace
1 bunch of thyme, tied
sea salt and freshly-ground pepper

Form the ground beef into 2 oval-shaped patties about 1 inch thick.  Season on both sides with salt and pepper.

Sauté onions, garlic and mushrooms in half of the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat until well browned, about 5 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon the transfer the vegetables to a plate, then turn up the heat to medium-high and sear the patties to rare, using additional butter if needed.

Transfer the meat to a plate, then de-glaze the pan with the wine, scraping up all the brown bits with the back of a wooden spoon.  Add beef stock and thyme and cook until reduced in volume by 1/3, about 15 minutes.

Whisk in demi-glace, then add the meat and vegetables (except the garlic, which is for the potatoes) back to the pan, reduce heat and simmer until meat is medium-rare to medium, about 5 minutes.

For the Potatoes

1 1/2 cups red potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 oz pastured butter, room temperature
1/3 cup fresh cream
3 cloves garlic, roasted and minced
sea salt and freshly-ground pepper

Slowly boil potatoes in salted water over medium-high heat until fork-tender.  Drain and return to pan set over low heat and allow to dry 5 minutes.  Cut the butter into small pieces, then whisk into the potatoes.  Stir in the garlic and cream and season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the Beans

16 5-6 inch blue lake green beans, trimmed
1 quart filtered water
1 teaspoon pasture butter
1 teaspoon salt
bowl of ice water
2 pieces uncured, applewood smoked bacon
1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Plunge green beans into rapidly-boiling salt water and cook 1 1/2 minutes. Drain, then transfer beans to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.

Brown bacon in a heavy skillet over medium heat until almost done.  Pour off grease and add butter and green beans. Sauté, turning often until tender, about 3-4 minutes.  De-glaze pan with vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Classic Pot Roast

Slow-cooked grass-fed chuck roast with mushroom pan gravy, fresh herbs and roasted winter vegetables..

Classic Pot Roast with Mushroom Pan Gravy and Roasted Root Vegetables

Classic Pot Roast with Mushroom Pan Gravy and Roasted Root Vegetables

Blot roast dry with paper towels and sprinkle all surfaces with kosher salt.  Wrap loosely and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Pre-heat a Dutch oven over medium heat and pre-heat oven to 225 degrees.

Melt 1 tablespoon pastured butter in Dutch oven.  Blot roast dry, wiping off any remaining salt and add to the pot.  Brown 5 minutes per side without moving in between.

Add 1/2 cup Burgundy or other hearty red wine, 1 small yellow onion, chopped, 1 carrot chopped, 2 cloves of garlic, chopped, a few peppercorns and a mixture of fresh herbs such as rosemary, oregano, thyme and sage.

Cover and braise for 1 1/2 hours.  Remove from oven, add 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, turn the roast, cover and return to oven until fork-tender, about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, leeks and fingerling potatoes.  Dress with melted butter, season liberally with sea salt and freshly-ground pepper and roast alongside the beef for 1 hour.

Remove the beef from the oven and transfer to a cutting board.  Cover loosely with foil and allow to rest.  Meanwhile, turn the oven up to 375 degrees and let the vegetables get well browned.

Meanwhile, strain the liquid from the Dutch oven into a clean pot.  Reduce slightly over medium heat, then thicken by whisking in a bit of roux.  Add sautéed mushrooms and a little demi-glace if you have it.  Adjust seasoning with salt & pepper if needed.

Slice roast against the grain into 1/2 inch slices and arrange on a plate.  Tuck roasted vegetables alongside and ladle mushroom gravy over the beef.  Serve with horseradish on the side if you like.