Friday, April 30, 2010

Ameeta's Brisket

I love brisket. And since I love brisket, I tend to cook a ton of it. So, I am always on the lookout for an awesome brisket recipe and one of our CSA members, Ameeta, shared this one with me. I have to admit it was pretty spectacular! Thanks, Ame!

Brisket Braised in Porter
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Shared by CSA Member Ameeta

Brisket always tastes better if prepared ahead and chilled. So, plan to make this 1-2 days before you actually want to serve it. Chilling it also makes it easier to slice thinly. Rewarm the brisket in the sauce and serve it with your favorite full-flavored dark beer.

Serves 12

1T kosher salt
2t fresh ground black pepper
2t dry mustard (such as Colman's)
2t chopped fresh sage (I used dried)
2t chopped fresh thyme (I used 2 sprigs)
1 6-lb flat-cut brisket
2T rendered bacon fat or olive oil
4c (or more) poultry broth (I used homemade turkey broth, but chicken broth works well)
1 12-oz bottle of porter or stout (I used an oatmeal stout)
6 whole pitted prunes (I omitted)
4 bay leaves (I used 2 fresh bay leaves- cracked)
2t (packed) dark brown sugar
3 large onions, thinly sliced
8 whole garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 lb medium carrots, sliced into 1 and 1/2 inch lengths
2T whole grain Dijon mustard
1T (or more) malt vinegar (I used balsamic vinegar and Ameeta used lemon juice)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix first 5 ingredients in a bowl and rub all over the brisket. Heat bacon fat/olive oil in a heavy extra-large oven-proof pot on the stove to medium-high heat. Add the brisket and sear on all sides until a deep brown, about 5 minutes per a side. Remove brisket from pot and set aside. Add half the broth and deglaze the pot, making sure to scrap up any browned bits from the brisket. Stir in the beer, the prunes, bay leaves and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Return the brisket to the pot and scatter the sliced onions and garlic cloves over top. Add the remaining broth and cover the pot. Put the brisket in the oven and cook (braise) for 4-7 hours. Ameeta cooked hers for 7 hours, but the original recipe calls for at least 4 hours of cooking time. Halfway through cooking add the carrots and mushrooms. When the meat is tender but NOT falling apart, take it out of the oven and let it cool slightly.

Once it cools a little, refrigerate it until you are ready to serve it (1-2 days). The day you are serving it, preheat the oven back to 350 degrees. Skim off any fat that accumulated at the surface of the sauce and remove the brisket. Place it on a cutting board and slice it thinly, across the grain. Place brisket slices in a roasting pan. Bring pan juices and vegetables to a boil in a pot. Whisk in the Dijon mustard and vinegar. Adjust seasonings (salt and pepper) and add more vinegar (or lemon juice) until desired acidity is reached. Pour the sauce and vegetables back over the brisket and cover with foil. Place in oven and cook until reheated thoroughly, about 1 hr and 15 minutes. Serve meat with vegetables and sauce. I also added either polenta or mashed potatoes as a side dish.

Note: I cooked my brisket in the slow cooker on low for 8-10 hours, turning it over every 2-3 hours (my brisket was folded in half since it was larger than the crockpot insert.) Turning helped to make sure that the sauce remained concentrated and the brisket cooked completely on all sides.

CSA Member Recipes

As we transition from our Winter CSA into our Summer CSA, I would like to share some of our member contributed recipes. These recipes were an important part of our last winter newsletter. I was honored to have our members share with me some of the recipes that they have used to prepare the cuts of meat from their CSA shares. I hope you too enjoy these recipes!

Miso-Rubbed Rack of Lamb

Daily Herald

New American Table by Marcus Samuelsson

Submitted by CSA Member Sarah H.


Serves 4

2 tablespoons dark miso (Sarah used white miso)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature (may be omitted)

1 tablespoon mild chili powder

1 large egg yolk

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

2 tablespoons olive oil (Sarah used 1 Tbsp)

2 frenched racks of lamb (1½ pounds each)

Salt and ground black pepper

¼ cup panko (Japanese-style) bread crumbs (may be omitted)


Heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the miso, butter, chili powder, egg yolk and sage. Set aside. In a large saute pan, heat the oil. Season the lamb with salt and pepper, then add it to the pan and sear until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. (You can skip the searing step, if preferred.) Let the lamb cool slightly, then smear the miso-butter/oil mixture over both sides. Firmly press the panko into the miso-butter/oil mixture on the rounded side of each rack.

Place the racks, rounded fat sides up, in a roasting pan. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted at the center of the rack reads 125 degrees, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.

Korean Braised Short Ribs Recipe

Submitted by CSA Member Sarah B.

These Korean braised short ribs are slow simmered over low heat to a tender and sweet finish. It's hard to have leftovers with Galbi Jim because it's such a crowd-pleaser, whether it's served at a fancy gathering or just as a comforting homestyle meal. To stretch the recipe, you can cut up pieces of brisket or other roasting beef cuts to stew size and cook with the short ribs. But you should always try to make it with bone-in ribs, because like Italian osso bucco or Irish stew, Galbi Jim relies on the stewed bone marrow for its rich flavor.


Serves 4

5 Tbsp sugar

6 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbsp Japanese rice wine (mirin) OR 1 Tbsp honey

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 onion, grated

3 scallions, finely chopped

1 Tbsp sesame seeds, crushed or whole

1 Tbsp sesame oil

1/2 Asian pear, peeled and finely chopped

3 lbs English-cut short ribs (sometimes called thick-cut), rinsed in cold water

(This is excellent with either the beef or the veal short ribs)

2 small potatoes, cut up into large chunks

2 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch lengths or ½ cup baby carrots


Score the ribs so that they absorb more of the braising liquid. Mix all the marinade ingredients (spices and liquids) together. In a large pot over high heat, put in the ribs and pour the braising liquid over them. Mix well, making sure all the ribs are covered. The liquid should come to about half the 1/3 to ½ the level of the ribs in the pot. Cover pot with a tight-fitting lid. When it begins to boil, turn to a low simmer. Cook for at least 1 hour (90 minutes – 2 hours is better), adding in potatoes and carrots 30 minutes before end of cooking time.*

* If you are adding in brisket or stew meat for more quantity, then it's best to braise for at least 2 hours. The goal is for meltingly tender meat that is falling off the bone. This recipe is also very good prepared in a crockpot!

Sauce Bolognese

Dean & DeLuca Cookbook

Submitted by CSA Members Rod and Shannon

My wife and I were having company over and, in the interest of time, decided to make lasagna. My wife found this recipe for sauce bolognese in the Dean and DeLuca cookbook and saw that it used FOUR of our CSA meat products! We substituted lamb liver for chicken liver and we don’t think it affected the final product. We used this sauce for lasagna, but it can be thinned out with water and/or splashed with some cream for a wonderfully hearty pasta sauce.


Serves 6 (if used as pasta sauce)

1/4 cup olive oil

1 1/2 cups mined yellow onions

1/2 cup diced carrot

1/2 cup diced celery

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 pound ground beef (preferably ground chuck)

1/2 pound ground veal

1/2 pound ground pork

1/4 pound chicken or lamb livers, finely chopped

2 cups tomato sauce

1 3/4 cups beef stock

1 cup dry white wine

freshly grated nutmeg to taste


Heat olive oil over moderate heat in large saucepan. Add onions, stir, and cover. Cook, Stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, until onions are wilted and light golden. Uncover and continue cooking for another 15 minutes, until onions are golden and lightly caramelized (watch carefully, so the onions don’t burn). Add carrot, celery, kosher salt, and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes. Add ground beef, veal, and pork and crumble with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook until meat is no longer pink, and add chicken/lamb livers. Cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomato sauce, 1 cup beef stock, and white wine. Stir well and simmer, uncovered, over low heat for 1 1/2 hours (the sauce should barely bubble). Add remaining beef stock, stir, and continue simmering for another 1 1/2 hours. Add nutmeg, and adjust seasoning.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Summer CSA Program

The wait is over! We have finally launched our Summer CSA program for the 2010 Farmers Market Season. You can NOW sign up online at our website or you can visit us at the Green City Indoor Market on Saturday April 24th to fill out an application.

Each month as a member you will get an all grass-fed meat share weighing either 5 lbs or 10 lbs. Each share (bag) will contain an assortment of lamb, mutton, goat, beef, rose veal, pork and more. If you do not wish to have pastured pork put in your share, you may request to have it omitted.

Please note: At this time we are NOT offering an additional egg share. This is something that we may offer in the future. However, we are striving to increase our egg production and hope to offer our organic soy-free pastured chicken eggs to more of our market customers.

Each month we try to put some familiar cuts and some more adventurous cuts into each share. Our goal is to encourage our members to have fun in the kitchen and try new foods. We aim to provide all our members with healthy grass-fed meat that is flavorful and easy to prepare. If you ever have doubts or questions about how to prepare a certain cut, just ask! We love to talk food with you. We have an extensive library of recipes and we try to make eating "nose to tail" more accessible for all sustainable eaters.

Sample Share Contents:

Half Share: (~5 lbs)
1# ground goat
1# beef kabob meat
1# lamb loin chops
.75# veal sirloin steak
1.25# pork chops

Whole Share: (~10lbs)
1# ground goat
1# beef kabob meat
1# lamb loin chops
.75# veal sirloin steak
1.25# pork chops
1.5# mutton leg steak
.5# beef ny strip steak
1.5# frenched rack of lamb
1.5# veal short ribs

Locations and Dates for Summer CSA Pick-ups:

Green City (Saturdays 7 am to 1 pm)- Saturday May 15th, June 12th, July 10th, August 14th, Sept. 11th and Oct. 9th
Logan Square (Sundays 10 am to 3 pm) - Home Delivery for May, Sunday June 13th, July 11th, August 15th, Sept. 12th and Oct. 10th
Andersonville (Wednesdays 3 pm to 8 pm)- Home Delivery for May, Wednesday June 23rd, July 14th, August 18th, Sept. 15th (3 pm to 7 pm) and Oct. 6th (3 pm to 7 pm)
NW Suburbs*- Wednesday May 19th, June 16th, July 14th, August 18th, Sept. 15th and Oct. 13th

*This location is a scheduled delivery to a Buying Club location and may be subject to date changes.

Half Shares: (~5 lbs.)

3 months: May-July or August-October


6 months: May-October


Save $15 by purchasing a 6 month membership!

Whole Shares: (~10 lbs.)

3 months: May-July or August-October


6 months: May-October


Save $30 by purchasing a 6 month membership!

Monday, April 12, 2010

April CSA Share

April brings warm weather, wild turkeys and roasts that are perfect for a family-style Sunday dinner.

Half Share:
2.5# Choice of Boneless Roast (Pork Shoulder, Veal Rump, Veal Shoulder or Beef Rump)
1# Pork Sausage (Polish or Andouille) and/or Mutton Stew Meat
1.5# Beef Porterhouse/T-Bone Steak
Bonus: Lamb Soup Bones, Suet or Organ Meats

Whole Share:
2.5# Choice of Boneless Roast
1# Pork Sausage
1# Mutton Stew Meat
1.5# Beef Porterhouse/T-Bone Steak
1# Goat Loin Chops
1# Pork Tenderloin
1# Boneless Veal Neck Filets (Stew Meat)
1# Beef NY Strip Steak or Veal Scallops
Bonus: Lamb Soup Bones, Suet or Organ Meats

Besides making the perfect roast, perfecting and utilizing a nourishing broth/stock in one's cooking will greatly enhance any dish that you put on your table. Here is our favorite version of lamb stock. A basic ingredient that I use in my mashed potatoes, rice dishes, soups/stews, and more. I hope that you give it a try and realize just how rich and deep in flavor your favorite dish can be!

Basic Lamb Stock

Adapted from the Nourishing Gourmet and French Onion Soups


Makes 8-10 cups

1-2 lbs of Lamb Bones (may be raw or already cooked)

1-2 Tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar (helps to draw out calcium from the bones)

2 Carrots, cut into thirds

2 Celery stalks, cut into thirds

1 Onion, peeled and quartered

1 Bay leaf (dried or fresh-crack the leaf a couple of times if fresh)

4 cloves of Garlic, peeled and smashed

½ tsp dried Rosemary or 1 sprig of fresh

couple of dried Peppercorns (~1 Tbsp)

Salt, to taste (I use kosher salt)


Preheat oven to 425° F. Roast the bones, onions and carrots in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring them a couple of times. Be careful not to burn anything. You just want to brown the ingredients. (If the bones are already cooked, you can skip this part if you want.) Drain away the fat and then put the vegetables and bones in a large stockpot. (It will be helpful to put the bones on top of the vegetables- they will weigh down the vegetables making it easier to skim off fat as the stock cooks.) Add a little water to the roasting pan and deglaze the pan to get all the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add these juices and the cider vinegar to the stockpot. Add just enough cold water to the stockpot to cover the bones. (Adding more water will only make the stock less concentrated in flavor.) Bring the stockpot to a simmer on the stove. (Don’t let it boil- it will turn cloudy and bitter.) Once it starts to simmer, skim off any foamy scum or fat that floats to the surface. Add the rest of the ingredients (celery, garlic, bay leaf, rosemary and peppercorns.) Season with salt and cover loosely. (Leave a steam vent.) Simmer stock for at least 4 hours over low heat. Skim off any fat that surfaces to prevent cloudiness. (Add more water to cover bones, if needed.) Strain out all solids with a cheesecloth lined mesh strainer. Adjust salt and other seasonings (pepper and rosemary-may add another touch of dried rosemary.) Let cool to room temperature and then store in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezer for a few months. I usually portion out my stock into 2 and 4 cup containers, since these are the quantities that I use the most.

For more information on how to make various stocks, their nutritional value and a little history lesson- check out the article Broth is Beautiful from Sally Fallon Morell, the founder of the Weston A Price Foundation.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lamb Ham

That's right, I said Lamb Ham! We have just started smoking and curing legs of lamb and selling them as whole legs, halved legs or as sandwich slices. All lamb ham products are $10/lb and available at the farmers market or online.

Since this is a new product, I wanted to give it a try. Well, I have to admit it- this actually tastes just like real ham made from a pig! Similar spices and seasonings are used in the curing process so it should not have surprised me as much as it did. However, this is made from lamb and not pork, so it still was a little strange to me that it tasted so similar.

I did like it though. And it really was quite easy to prepare, since it is already cooked. All I did was place the lamb ham on a bed of baby potatoes and pour a little broth into the pan to cover the potatoes and to give the lamb ham a little moisture during cooking. Since these legs are smoked, most of the fat has already cooked off leaving the lamb ham very lean. That is why it is important to give your lamb ham some liquid or it will dry out. I then covered the pan with parchment paper and foil and baked it in a 350 oven until the potatoes were soft, about 45 min. to 1 hour. The lamb ham itself really doesn't need to cook that long, just the potatoes. But as long as there is some liquid in the pan, the lamb ham won't dry out. When it came out of the oven, smelling amazing from the sweet spices of cinnamon and cloves, we devoured it instantly! This meal was smokey and aromatic and the flavor was pure ham. I am excited to fry up the leftovers for tomorrow's breakfast or pile it up on a sandwich with some horseradish mayo. Yum!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

March Meat CSA

This month we introduced a brand new meat product-
Pastured Pork
We are excited to give this product a whirl and look forward to the next couple of weeks as we build our pork inventory for the upcoming summer market season.

Half Share:

1-1.25# Pork Chops

1-2# Veal Short Ribs (Spareribs)
.75-1# Lamb Loin Roast/Tenderloin
.75-1# Beef Ribeye Steak(s)
1# Ground Beef Patties
(dependent on weight of short ribs)

Whole Share:

1-1.25# Pork Chops
1-2# Veal Short Ribs (Spareribs)
.75-1# Lamb Loin Roast/Tenderloin
.75-1# Beef Ribeye Steak(s)
.75# Beef Filet Mignon (2 pkg.)
1# Pork Bacon
1# Goat Stew Meat
.75# Lamb Rack Chops
1.5# Veal Osso Bucco
1# Ground Beef Patties
(dependent on weight of short ribs)

In honor of our NEW pork:

Pork Chops with a Curried Apple-Onion Sauce

Courtesy of Epicurious


Serves 4

4 8-ounce pork chops (each 1 inch thick)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried marjoram

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large apple, peeled, cored, chopped

1/2 onion, chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 cup canned low-salt chicken broth

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons honey mustard

1 teaspoon curry powder


Sprinkle pork with 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon marjoram, salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook until no longer pink inside, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer pork to plate; tent with foil to keep warm. Reserve drippings in skillet. Add apple, onion and garlic to drippings in skillet and sauté over medium-high heat 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, wine, cream, mustard, curry powder and remaining 1/2 teaspoon thyme and 1/2 teaspoon marjoram. Boil until sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Divide pork among plates. Pour sauce over and serve.

And because you are probably wondering, now where do I get a farm fresh apple for this recipe? Look no further, because we have the answer! Local apples that were harvested this past fall are still available at the farmers markets. Both Green City and Logan Square host Hillside Orchards of Berrien Springs, MI. Hillside Orchards have been storing these apples in cold storage (temperature and atmosphere controlled) so that we can continue to have fresh fruit available through the winter. Apples are a traditional storage crop, being kept for several months in cool, humid root cellars. If you plan it just right, you can also store apples in a plastic bag (with a splash of water) in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. I have had some apples last me from September through March! Some of my favorites are Jonathan, Northern Spy, Winesap and Golden Delicious. All of these varieties would be wonderful in this Curried Apple-Onion Sauce.

Spring Holidays

Passover and Easter are right around the corner. Passover starts at sundown on Monday March 29th and Easter Sunday is on April 4th. Both of these holidays are traditionally celebrated with a meal that has lamb as the main course. A beautiful leg of lamb symbolizes Spring and the "Christian Paschal Lamb" or Jesus Christ and is often the main dish for Easter dinner. Lamb shanks are always found on the Jewish table at Passover or Pesach, since a shank bone is an important part of the seder plate. The shank bone also known as the Zeroa or Z'roa, symbolizes the Korban Pesach or Paschal Lamb which was the sacrificial offering in the Temple of Jerusalem.

Both Leg of Lamb and Lamb Shanks will be available for pick up at the Farmers Market or for Fresh Home Delivery.* We will also have both Pork Hams and Lamb Hams available for Easter! And if you want something different to grace your holiday table, try a Smoked Turkey. We are offering our smoked turkeys, halved and weighing around 10 lbs. Both the smoked turkey halves and the lamb hams are NEW this season, so give one a try and make your holiday table extra special!

*Fresh Home Delivery for the Easter holiday will take place on Wednesday March 31st and Thursday April 1st. If Home Delivery is needed for Passover, special arrangements will be made. Please place your Fresh Home Delivery (an additional $10 delivery fee applies to all orders) orders with Harry by emailing him at

Bone-in Leg of Lamb $7/lb

Boneless Leg of Lamb $8.75/lb

Smoked and Cured Lamb Ham $10/lb

Lamb Shanks $5.75/lb

Smoked and Cured Pork Ham $4/lb

Smoked Turkey Halves $6/lb

And don't forget your Beitzah or Easter Eggs! We will have our free-range pastured Chicken Eggs at the Green City Farmers Market for $5/dz. No need to dye these eggs, they come already colored for you in shades of brown, white and even the occasional blue-green!*
* Most of our eggs being laid recently have been brown, there are the occasional white and blue-green eggs laid. We cannot take orders for the colored eggs. What you get in your carton is what we get when we pull the eggs from the nest! Enjoy mother nature at work. All eggs are beautiful.

Happy Spring Holidays!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Soup and Bread

A fellow sheep farmer, Vera Videnovich sold me a cookbook at the Logan Square Farmers Market. It is called Soup and Bread, and it is the culmination of the first annual winter Wednesday night Soup and Bread events at the Hideout. Now, this sounded interesting to me. I personally love soup and bread so I had to have this cookbook and I wanted to learn more about the inspiration behind this cookbook!

She explained that every Wednesday evening from 5:30 to 8 pm (January-March/April) the Hideout on Wabansia Ave. hosts this free event for the community. All are welcome and encouraged to donate what they can to that evening's worthy charity. Every Wednesday, there is a different local charity that is selected to be the recipient of that evening's donations. And the proceeds from the lovely, spiral bound paperback cookbook go to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. And at $20 a book, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to give the the GCFD and score a new cookbook!

The cookbook is collection of all the recipes that were contributed to the first winter's worth of Soup and Bread events. Besides being filled with yummy sounding recipes, the cookbook has a lovely vintage design, created by Sheila Sachs. Sheila and Martha Bayne are the two ladies behind the idea of Soup and Bread. They have taken on the soup kitchen idea and turned it into an opportunity to inspire professional and amateur chefs/bakers to donate their talents and time back to their community. Besides all the great food and the worthy cause, Soup and Bread has become a regular happening on many folks social calenders! When you walk into the Hideout to experience your first Soup and Bread, you are greeted by a warm and friendly group of folks ready to spend some quality time together.

When I went to my first Soup and Bread, I was greeted at the door by a friendly man and a neighborhood dog. I thought the man was there to check id's, but he laughed and said that this was a family friendly event and that all were welcome. Somehow, he still managed to ask my age...sneaky man! And when I walked into the back room where the event is held, I found a table lined with delicious smelling crockpots ready to be emptied by a hungry crowd of supporters. Standing behind each crockpot was the chef of the soup and they were there to serve you once you decided which amazing soup your were going to eat. If you were lucky, you were able to sneak in a couple trips up to the table to taste a couple of the soups. However, you had to beat out everyone else who had the same idea! There was bread and some lovely desserts in one corner, along with the donation jar. If you wanted a drink, you just went to the bar for one. It was low key and relaxing, and a great way to unwind with friends.

I invite you all to go check it out and experience a Soup and Bread for yourself. I am sure you will be back for a second helping! And if you are interested in trying a Mutton/Lamb Stew topped with Rosemary Suet Dumplings, please come to the March 10th Soup and Bread. I will be cooking up this meaty winter stew and looking forward to serving it to all of you. I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Winter Market Update

We are in the throws of winter these days, but that doesn't mean that we don't have access to locally grown/produced food. There are more and more winter farmers markets popping up around the city. All we need is more folks to know that these opportunities are available to them. If you check out the Local Beet you can find a market almost every weekend and in neighborhoods all around the city! A few that we are participating in are:

Green City at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Center (Saturdays 8am to 1pm)
February 27th
March 13th
March 27th
April 10th
April 24th

Logan Square at the Congress Theater (Sundays 10am to 2pm)
February 21th
February 28th
March 7th
March 14th
March 21st
March 28th

The Empty Bottle
Saturday February 27th from 12pm to 5pm

We will be selling our pasture raised lamb, mutton, goat, beef and veal. In addition to all these great meat products we will be selling our chicken and duck eggs at the Green City market. We will also be selling our farmstead honey at the Green City and the Empty Bottle markets!

We hope to see you at one of these markets. Please help to spread the word to others- bring a friend! Chicago needs more support for its winter farmers markets. We want them to succeed and we need your help.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

February Meat CSA

Love is in the air and this month's selection of meat is all about cuts that we love and can't live without!

Half Share:
1# Ground Lamb
2# Veal Shoulder Chops
1# Beef Skirt Steak
1# Mutton Loin Chops

Whole Share:
1# Ground Lamb
2# Veal or Lamb Shoulder Chops
1# Beef Flat Iron Steak
1# Mutton Loin Chops
2# Lamb or Veal Top Round Roast
1# Beef Kabob Meat
1# Lamb Bratwurst Links
1# Veal Sirloin Steak

This month we offered a new meat to our members, mutton. Mutton has been around for a long time, but it is not a popular meat in America and we rarely ever see it available at market. This is unfortunate because we love mutton and we hope to spread its wonders to Chicago!

As I was doing research for this month's newsletter, I discovered that the Prince of Wales started in 2004 the Mutton Renaissance in Britain. He started the campaign to support British sheep farmers in selling their older animals and to get delicious mutton back on his nation's plates.

Here in America, we are still in the dark about mutton even with the growing interest in lamb products. In the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, I discovered that our country's interest in mutton and lamb has been tied to our war history and the wool market.

In this month's share, we gave each member a package of Mutton Loin Chops and a recipe for Honey and Dry Cider Marinaded Mutton Loin Chops. This recipe comes from a sheep farm in Britain, Elan Valley Mutton.


Serves 4

4 Mutton Loin Chops

3-4 tsp of locally raised Honey*

fresh Rosemary Sprigs

1 tsp ground Ginger

¼ pint of Dry “hard” Cider

Salt and Pepper

*Mint Creek Farm Honey is now available at the Green City Indoor farmers market.


Season the mutton loin chops with salt and pepper. Put chops in a shallow roasting pan and sprinkle the ground ginger on the chops. Drizzle the honey over them and lightly rub the honey and spices into the chops. Lay fresh rosemary sprigs on top of the chops, then pour the dry cider over the meat leaving it to marinade for a couple of hours or overnight if possible. Be sure to cover pan with a double layer of foil (honey is inclined to burn) and braise in a 325-350° oven for approximately 2 hours. Remove the meat from the pan and reduce the pan drippings on the stovetop until slightly thickened. Plate the loin chops, and drizzle the cider sauce over top. Garnish your meat platter with more fresh rosemary sprigs.

And since we mentioned the local honey, we are proud to announce that we have released our 2009 farmstead honey at the Green City Farmers Market! It will be available now at every market, until supplies last. We are retailing it at 1lb for $8, 2lbs for $15 and 5lbs for $35.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

January Meat CSA

January was a cold and snowy month, one that is perfect for tough cuts of meat that require long slow cooking methods to render fork tender meals! We gave our members just that for this month's CSA share.

Half Share:
1# Lamb Italian Sausage
1# Ground Veal
1.5-2# Beef Short Ribs
1-1.5# Lamb Leg Steaks

Whole Share:
1# Lamb Italian Sausage
1# Ground Veal
2# Beef Round Steak
1# Lamb Leg Steak
1# Lamb Stew Meat or Boneless Neck Filets
1# Goat Rack Chops
1.5# Veal Rack Chops (pkg. of 2 chops)
1.5# Beef Marrow/Soup Bones (2 pkg.)

One of my favorite beef cuts is short ribs. These meaty bones scream to be braised for a long time in a flavorful sauce. The meat just falls of the bone and shreds perfectly. Cook up a mushroom risotto, black beans or a cheesy polenta and you have the ultimate comfort food to warm you heart and soul.

Here is one of my favorite recipes from Smitten Kitchen:

Braised Short Ribs with Horseradish Cream

Serves 4 (generously) to 6

6 beef short ribs, about 14 to 16 ounces each
1 tablespoon thyme leaves, and 4 whole sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced carrot
1/3 cup diced celery
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups port
2 1/2 cups hearty red wine
6 cups beef or veal stock
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Horseradish Cream (recipe follows)

Season the short ribs with 1 tablespoon of thyme and the cracked black pepper. Use your hands to coat the meat well. Cover, and refrigerate overnight. Take the short ribs out of the refrigerator an hour before cooking, to come to room temperature. After 30 minutes, season them generously on all sides with salt. When you take the ribs out of the refrigerator, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. When it’s time to cook the short ribs, heat a large Dutch oven over high heat for 3 minutes. Pour in 3 tablespoons olive oil, and wait a minute or two, until the pan is very hot and almost smoking. Place the short ribs in the pan, and sear until they are nicely browned on all three meaty sides. Depending on the size of your pan, you might have to sear the meat in batches. Do not crowd the meat or get lazy or rushed at this step; it will take at least 15 minutes. [I find this takes closer to 45 minutes if you're really thorough. Be thorough!] When the ribs are nicely browned, transfer them to a plate to rest. Turn the heat down to medium, and add the onion, carrot, celery, thyme springs, and bay leaves. Stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up all the crusty bits in the pan. Cook 6 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables just begin to caramelize. Add the balsamic vinegar, port, and red wine. Turn the heat up to high, and reduce the liquid by half. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Arrange ribs in the pot, lying flat, bones standing up, in one layer. Scrape any vegetables that have fallen on the ribs back into the liquid. The stock mixture should almost cover the ribs. Tuck the parsley sprigs in and around the meat. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and a tight-fitting lid if you have one. Braise in the oven for about 3 hours. To check the meat for doneness, remove the lid and foil, being careful of the escaping steam, and piece a short rib with a paring knife. When the meat is done, it will yield easily to a knife. Taste a piece if you are not sure. [If you would like to cook these a day ahead, this is where you can pause. The next day, you can remove the fat easily from the pot -- it will have solidified at the top -- bring these back to a simmer on the stove or in an oven, and continue.] Let the ribs rest 10 minutes in their juices, and then transfer them to a baking sheet. Turn the oven up to 400 degrees F. Place the short ribs in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes to brown. Strain the broth into a saucepan, pressing down on the vegetables with a ladle to extract all the juices. Skim the fat from the sauce (if you made these the day before, you will have already skimmed them) and, if the broth seems thin, reduce it over medium-high heat to thicken slightly. Taste for seasoning. Serve with horseradish cream (recipes below) on the side.

Horseradish Cream:

3/4 cup créme fraîche
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the créme fraîche and horseradish in a small bowl. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Taste for balance and seasoning.

And if you have never tried Marrow Bones, you have to give them a whirl. We have some that are incredibly meaty and would be perfect as an elegant Osso Bucco entree with the marrow being utilized as an appetizer.

Here is a recipe for Roasted Marrow Bones from Fergus Henderson:

8-12 center cut beef or veal marrow bones

1 c roughly chopped fresh parsley

2 shallots, thinly sliced

2 t capers

1 ½ T extra virgin olive oil

2 t fresh lemon juice

course sea salt to taste

toasted baguette slices

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put bones, cut side up, on foil-lined baking sheet or in ovenproof skillet. Cook until marrow is soft and has begun to separate from the bone, about 15 minutes. (Stop before marrow begins to drizzle out.) Meanwhile, combine parsley, shallots and capers in small bowl. Just before bones are ready, whisk together olive oil and lemon juice and drizzle dressing over parsley mixture until leaves are just coated. Put roasted bones, parsley salad, salt and toast on a large plate. To serve, scoop out marrow, spread on toast, sprinkle with salt and top with parsley salad.

Check out this video with Fergus Henderson as he prepares this unique and delicious dish:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A New Look for Mint Creek Farm

We are proud to share with you our brand new logo. This logo was designed for us by one of our very own CSA Members, Sarah Becan. Sarah spent an afternoon with us at the farm and has been a CSA Member since we first started the program. We could not have found a better candidate to create an image as important as this one for us. She worked hard on this design and we appreciate her patience (in dealing with us changing our mind constantly) and talent. We think she created the perfect design to characterize our little haven at Mint Creek Farm. Thank you Sarah!