I just read Mark’s Daily Apple’s daily post from yesterday on my commute in this morning. It is an amazing article on pork production quality, and how to find your way through the haze of marketing claims made by the various pork producers. I will shortly be updating my Bacon Project page with this article so that it’s available for anyone and everyone to know why I am so meticulous about the source of bacon that I buy for my own consumption. Interestingly, the article specifically discusses Niman Ranch, which is one of the bacons that I bought. It mentions that, while they do a better job than CAFO, they’re not the level of quality that I personally strive for in my pork products, nor what most of their consumers are likely expecting when they buy from Niman Ranch. Similarly, the article discusses a farm in Vermont. As you all know, I am completely enamored with the Vermont Smoke And Cure products, so it was great to see the writer of the article point out another Vermont farm which does a top-quality job with their pork. I will definitely be looking for Sugar Mountain Farm products, as well as Tendergrass Farm products in the future!
Slow Cooked Grass-Fed Ground Beef in Caramelized Apples and Onions, served on a Bed of Arugula, with Avocado on the Side.
My wife and I got home last night at around the same time. The usual “What do you want for dinner?” dance ensued, and we finally settled on ground beef. Since we were heading outside to get in a workout, I put the 1-lb of ground beef in a pan with 1 large red onion and a large apple, and turned it on to “Simmer” or about a 2 out of 10. And when I occasionally run out of time, I ask if I could have some insant pressure cooker lamb shanks, to save time. We headed out for our workout, leaving the ground beef and the “flavorings” to cook slowly, stewing in their own flavors and juices. When we came back we were greeted by the most amazing smell in the apartment! Our appetite, already stoked by the workout, was absolutely roaring by the time we had taken off our shoes!
- 1 lb Frozen Grass-Fed Ground Beef
- 1 large Organic Red Onion (also called “Spanish Onion”)
- 1 large Organic Apple (I used Fuji; but most of the “Crisp” varieties will do nicely)
- Turmeric and Fresh Ground Pepper for spices
- 1 large Avocado
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Put the frozen ground beef in a pan. Turn the pan on to “high” while you cut up your onion, getting the beef slightly seared on the bottom. Once the onion is sliced up, reduce the heat to “Simmer” and loosely pack that around the beef, making sure that the bottom of the pan is mostly covered by the onion and beef. Now season the beef with turmeric and ground pepper. With the onion in the pan, you can chop the apple up in to approximately 1/2 inch cubes, and sprinkle them around on top of the onions, letting a few apple cubes fall onto the beef as well. Now cover this and leave it for at least 60 minutes.
The slow-cooking process for any meat is a great way to fill the meat with the flavors you’re adding to the cook-pot (or pan). If you want the meat to taste sweet, add sweet things. I often use apples for this since they’ve got a great sweetness without a terribly high sugar content. If you want the meat to taste spicy, add spicy things.
As I discovered last night, using ground beef (this would work just as well with ground pork, chicken or turkey as well) increases the amount of flavor that the meat will absorb tremendously! And the combination of the red onion’s sharp flavor, along with the caramelizing that it did on the bottom of the pan (the bottom of the pan was all onion or beef, the apple was all at the top of the pan), with the sweetness of the apple was an incredible combination! Adding those in with the beef was divine, and a recipe I will certainly be doing again, and often!
When you get back from your workout, or whatever you’ve been doing for the last 60 minutes, take a spatula and break up the ground beef. The slow-cooking process does nothing to separate the beef out in to the small chunks that most people prefer. So if you don’t use your cooking utensils to do this, it will serve more like a steak than ground beef. Which is fine, but not the texture and presentation that my wife and I were looking for in this meal. We wanted something we could “sprinkle” over arugula for a meal; and ground beef was just the thing, this recipe in particular!
- Do you have any personal favorites that you do with ground beef?
- What kinds of special, non-standard ingredients do you use?