Lone Star Farm Beef

Lone Star Farm Blog – A Free Range Beef Farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

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Shredded Beef Arepas

You know what arepas are, right? No? Oh, good! Neither did I until this summer (and neither, apparently, does spell check).

This summer, a friend of mine mentioned a new local Venezuelan restaurant that served $6 arepas on Wednesdays, and even though I had no idea what an arepa was, spending $6 on a nice sit-down dinner with friends sounded just fine.

When Arepa Time arrived, I discovered that the arepa meal was much like a standard American “barbecue” sandwich with pulled, seasoned meat. Only, instead of being served on a Kaiser roll or other hearty bread, the meat was wedged between two arepas, which are kind of like English muffins made with a special kind of cornmeal. And the delicious seasoned beef inside my arepa was topped with smoked gouda and avocado.

shredded beef arepas

I knew right then that this was a meal I needed in my future.

Unfortunately, the whole reason we were getting together with friends that Wednesday was to say goodbye because we were moving far away. Far away from good friends and from this newly discovered treat.

I would just have to learn how to make beef arepas on my own. This has proved much easier than making new friends. I was astonished at how simple it is to make arepas at home, and how deliciously soft and buttery they were. The beef roasts for 3-4 hours in a Dutch oven, but once you’ve browned it, you hardly have to think about it again. And the arepas themselves are easier to make than most bread! I am hoping to make this delicious Venezuelan cornbread for some new friends in our new locale soon, but this savory, buttery meal will continue to remind me of the last evening we shared with these friends in our old neighborhood.

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Shredded Beef Arepas
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Beef recipe adapted from The Candid Appetite; Arepa recipe adapted from Gluten Free Girl. If you don't have a Dutch oven, you can brown the meat in a saucepan and then transfer it to a baking dish and roast 3-4 hours, or transfer to a crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours.
Ingredients
Shredded beef
  • 2 pounds boneless rump roast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons each salt and black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons each: garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • Quarter of a yellow onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ¼ cup salsa
  • 1 beef bullion cube
  • 2 cups water
Arepas
  • 2 ½ cups lukewarm water
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups pre-cooked white cornmeal (such as P.A.N. - only use pre-cooked!)
Toppings
  • Sliced avocado
  • Shredded gouda cheese
Instructions
Shredded Beef:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Heat a heavy-duty Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil.
  2. In a bowl, mix spices and divide put half of the mixture into another bowl and reserve. Rub the remaining mixture into the roast.
  3. Brown the roast on all sides. Remove from heat.
  4. Add bell peppers, onion, garlic, bay leaves, lime juice, salsa, bullion, water and remaining half of spices.
  5. Transfer to oven. Roast 3 to 4 hours until the meat is tender and easy to pull apart with a fork.
Arepas
  1. Reduce oven heat to 350°F.
  2. In a bowl, mix water, salt and oil. Add cornmeal slowly until the mixture feels like clay (but a little wetter and mealier).
  3. Round the dough into balls (tennis ball size). Flatten to the size of an English muffin. If the edges crack, the dough is too dry.
  4. Fry on a cast iron pan or other oven-safe pan over medium heat.
  5. When the bottoms are crisp and golden brown, flip them. Repeat.
  6. Bake in oven for 15 minutes, and then slice and butter them and fill them with seasoned beef and desired toppings.

 

Pulled-Beef Arepas

The Zeal of Zucchini Beef Taquitos

Taquitos are usually deep-fried, but this Mexican meal using ground beef from Lone Star Farm bakes to perfection in about 15 minutes.

Here are some factoids to help you feel even better about each savory (and especially filling) bite in this Zucchini Beef Taquitos recipe.

Taquitos

Zucchini isn’t ordinarily blended with beef, but these taquitos are a great opportunity to add some garden nutrients as you cook. The shredded zucchini bulks up the taquitos well in combination with the beef. Once the meat is more browned, the zucchini tends to match the shade of the beef. For anyone who has kids who aren’t quite in love with zucchini yet, rest assured that it’s almost entirely undetectable by the tongue and is mostly hidden away in the beef and seasonings.

Some nutritional perks of zucchini are fiber, magnesium, manganese, calcium, folate, potassium, copper and phosphorus as well as vitamins B1, B2 and B6; vitamins A and C also make special appearances as bonus benefits. While zucchini is often treated like a vegetable, it’s actually a fruit, so if it could talk, it’d probably identify well with how the almighty tomato knows the same botanical confusion.

And since it’s often said that in some cases fresh produce loses the potency of its nutrients when cooked, it’s good to know that “a cup of cooked zucchini gives you more calcium, potassium, vitamin A, beta-carotene and vitamin K than raw zucchini does.”

Perhaps surprisingly, it’s nice to learn that corn tortillas in this recipe join in fiber, phosphorus, copper and manganese. You don’t always expect that of something like tortillas.

When you make this recipe, it serves 4 people with 3 to 4 taquitos each, but bellies often become so full after you eat the second and third ones that any side dishes almost seem unneeded. With this in mind, you might be able to stretch the recipe to feed more than just 4 people, and this is all the more likely if you do decide to prepare more than just the taquitos. Adding veggies, starches or fruit as separate portions of a meal might be another way to extend the full-belly factor across more family and friends as you’re putting this together for lunch or dinner.

For anyone who has an iron deficiency, pay attention to ground cumin. It is incredibly rich in iron, to the point that one teaspoon alone has 22% of the amount a body needs daily.

Enjoy testing out this recipe. Remember, responsibly raised local beef is a form of love to its community, and zucchini can share some of that palate-hugging affection with its nutrition-savvy elements in this mix.

Zucchini Beef Taquitos
Serves: 4 servings-- 3 to 4 taquitos each
 
Ingredients
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 pound Lone Star Farm ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 12-16 6-inch corn tortillas
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • 1 to 1½ cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Shred zucchini in a cheese grater or food processor. Heat olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Join together the zucchini, beef, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder cumin and salt. Cook for about 5 minutes until beef is no longer pink, being sure to stir frequently. Remove the blend from heat.
  3. Spread the tortillas out on two large baking sheets in slightly overlapping rows. Warm the tortillas in the oven for two minutes. Remove the tortillas, and put them on a plate.
  4. Coat the baking sheet with a thin layer of olive oil. On a flat surface, sprinkle a tortilla with one layer of cheese, then spread ¼ cup beef mixture in a thin layer across the tortilla. Sprinkle with more cheese, and tightly roll it up. Repeat this with the other tortillas.
  5. Place each taquito facing with its side-seam down onto the baking sheet. Brush the tortillas with olive oil, and be certain to spread adequate olive oil on the edges—not enough olive oil on the tortillas may lead to dry and lightly burned ends.
  6. Bake the taquitos until browned and crispy, approximately 15 to 17 minutes. Once removed from the oven, allow the taquitos to cool for a few minutes.
  7. Serve with a crave-worthy salsa, guacamole and sour cream or some plain Greek yogurt.

 

Use Up That Zucchini

Make Juicy Lucy Burgers for Father’s Day

I’m a food tourist. I’ve decided to embrace this. While I love to unwind by a lake front or see the view from a mountain top, one of the most memorable parts of any trip is the food that the region has to offer.

Globalization has made a lot of America look (and taste) the same, and yet when I lived in Chicago, I couldn’t get a decent hoagie and would have gotten strange looks if I ever tried to order one. And when I lived in Pennsylvania, nobody had pizza that tasted quite the same as a Giordano’s deep dish.

So when I travel, I look for food that’s unique to the region. I’m in Florida right now, so that means BBQ, gator meat (it tastes like very juicy chicken, I promise) and authentic Cuban food (I’ve just got to figure out how to make amazing authentic vaca frita- “fried cow”- for an upcoming Lone Star Farm blog article!).

And a few weeks ago I was in Minneapolis/St. Paul, and that meant Juicy Lucys. Before this trip, I had never heard of a Juicy Lucy. Have you? It’s basically an inside-out cheeseburger, with all the cheesy gooey goodness in the middle of the burger instead of slapped onto the outside. It makes the whole burger a lot cheesier.

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Our friends took us to Matt’s Bar in Minneapolis, home of the original Juicy Lucy… depending on who you ask. Others will say this famous burger got its start at the nearby 5-8 Club. After trying one, though, you’ll just be glad somebody thought to stick some cheese between two thin burger patties because it sure is good. Make it this Father’s Day!

Juicy Lucy
Author: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1.5 lbs ground beef
  • ½ teaspoon dried minced onion
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ pound sliced American cheese
  • 4 hamburger buns
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, mix ground beef and seasonings. (Keep seasonings simple so that you don't leave pockets where cheese can seep through the beef.)
  2. Make 8 meatballs of uniform size and shape. Use a small heavy skillet to flatten each one into a thin beef patty--as thin as possible so the cheese and beef layers will all cook thoroughly.
  3. Place cheese slices, folded in half, on the beef patty, place another beef patty on top, and close the edges firmly so no cheese pokes through.
  4. Grill until well done. (If your grill is hard to clean, place aluminum foil on top because you may get some cheese dripping out.)

 

Philly Cheesesteak Baked Potatoes

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If you haven’t noticed yet, we’re a little obsessed with Philly Cheesesteaks. Why? Well, obviously they are delicious. What’s better than beef smothered in cheese? Philly Cheesesteaks take it to the next level with hot and/or sweet peppers and sauteed onions and/or peppers. And then there’s those fluffy Amoroso rolls. Or are there? Perhaps the Philly Cheesesteak taste can be achieved without the empty carb of the roll.

Enter: Philly Cheesesteak Baked Potatoes.

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Since I’ve been trying to find ways to cut out “bad” carbohydrates, I’ve started looking for other alternatives. Sure, you may be thinking “but aren’t potatoes a carb too?” Yes, they are, but according to Livestrong.com, they fit the criteria to be considered a “good” carb. That’s because they contain fiber, vitamins and minerals, all of which help prevent your blood sugar from spiking and allow you to feel more sustained fullness.

So last week I made these delicious Philly Cheesesteak baked potatoes. They rocked my world. Why?

Baked potatoes beg for delicious toppings – and sometimes a change from the regular ol’ sour cream, cheddar and chive topping is quite welcome! I used Yukon Gold potatoes too, which achieve a much smoother interior texture than the more dry Russet potato, and the exterior became nicely golden brown.

Plus, the option to use ground beef makes them so much more versatile! I use up my portion of chip steak all too quickly from my Lone Star quarter cow, so I’m always looking for things to do with ground beef!

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Philly Cheesesteak Baked Potatoes
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 4 russet potatoes or large Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 pound ground beef or chip steak
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 2 medium cooking onions, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • [For toppings:]
  • ½ cup hot peppers, such as pepperoncini
  • ½ cup sweet peppers
  • 8 slices Provalone or Mozarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Poke potatoes all over with a fork. Brush with olive oil and set in a casserole dish. Bake one hour until potatoes skins look nicely golden brown. (You can speed this process up by microwaving them first and then transferring to the oven if time is of the essence).
  2. In a large sauté pan, sautée onions in 1 tbsp. oil until translucent - or even until caramelized, according to your preference. Set aside in a small serving bowl
  3. In the same pan, sautée the peppers with 1 tbsp. oil. Set aside in a small serving bowl. (If you plan to serve the onions and peppers together, you can sautée the peppers once the onions are about half-way cooked).
  4. In the same sautée pan, brown the beef. Set aside in a serving bowl.
  5. Arrange cheese on a plate and put hot and sweet peppers in serving dishes.
  6. Set all ingredients out on table and let everyone build their own baked potato cheesesteak with the toppings of their choice.

 

If you just can’t get enough of these Philly Cheesesteaks, try our Philly Cheesesteak recipe with portobello mushrooms or our smokey Philly Cheesesteak dip recipe.

 

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The Beef Quesadilla of Your Dreams

These quesadillas. They have become legend in our house. When we talk about good dinners we have enjoyed recently, these quesadillas top the list. And whenever we mention these quesadillas, we’re silent and dreamy for a moment, remembering the salty taste of the seasoned beef and the spicy, creamy cheese sauce.  Then we snap out of it and our conversation resumes.

beef quesadillas

We love quesadillas. I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t. They are one of those easy meals where the finished combination of cheese and tortilla is even better than the sum of its parts. Kitchen chemistry at its finest.

Because they’re so easy to make, quesadillas are also easy to elevate. It’s easy to spend just a few more minutes in the kitchen to play with the basic cheese and tortilla combo: to brown and season some meat and whip up a queso blanco sauce, for instance.

You can even get fancy with the drinks since the meal itself is simple.

Or you can have wonderful friends who volunteer to make fancy drinks. When we enjoyed these Beef Quesadillas with Queso Blanco Sauce, my friend Stacy joined us and brought with her some horchata she had spent hours making. She made this cold drink using rice and almonds, grinding them up, covering them with hot water, letting this mixture soak overnight, and then straining it in very small batches the next day. The resulting horchata was rich, creamy, and refreshing and brought an ideal balance to the spicy meal. I think I told her twice that the horchata was “heavenly.”

With horchata, a side of black beans, and a tall stack of beef quesadillas, you will be all set for a meal you’ll dream about for months to come.

Beef Quesadillas with Queso Blanco Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Adapted from Delish.com.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 4.5 ounce can diced mild green chiles
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder, divided
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cumin, divided
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 whole wheat tortillas
  • ¼ cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 3 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 large tomato
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan over low heat, stir heavy whipping cream, cheese, yogurt and half of the spices together, continuing to heat and stir until melted. Be careful that it does not burn.
  2. Brown beef with garlic and add remaining spices and chiles.
  3. Heat oil in a frying pan. Assemble the quesadillas: Spoon beef off-center inside the tortilla, drizzle cheese sauce over the beef and fold the tortilla in half. Fry the quesadillas until golden brown, flipping once.
  4. Top with chopped tomato, cilantro, and drizzled queso blanco sauce.

 

Individual Beef Wellingtons Are Easier Than You Think

Several people who know what was going on in the Talbot kitchen on Thursday afternoon might raise an eyebrow at this title–including my husband, my sister, and the friend I took a walk with the evening after my first beef wellington attempt.

Really? Beef wellingtons are that easy? Then why did you have to try them again and perfect the recipe before sharing them on the blog?

Well, here’s the thing.

You should always get your recipes from someone who has tried a recipe, not been entirely happy with it, and then remade it successfully. Then they will know exactly how to avoid the problems you are most likely to encounter!

After a little trouble-shooting (already done by yours truly), these little pockets of beefy goodness really are easy–and fancy–enough to serve as part of your Easter menu!

So what is beef wellington anyhow? And how can you make this delicious dish in a simple yet elegant way, so that it will easily grace your Easter table?

A beef wellington is, traditionally, “a preparation of fillet steak coated with pâté  and duxelles”–a mixture of chopped mushrooms– “which is then wrapped in puff pastry and baked.”

Think of the most elegant empanada you can imagine. That’s a beef wellington.

I decided to make mine with spinach and feta rather than pâté and mushrooms. Spinach felt more like springtime.

Now, what went wrong the first time, and how can you avoid it?

Problem: Prioritizing the Pastry

First, the recipe I used prioritized making the puff pastry look perfect. That was pretty silly. After all, the hearty center of this recipe is the beef, not the pastry! Because the recipe prioritized the pastry, the beef was not as tender as it could have been.

The Simple Fix: When I remade this recipe this morning, I followed my tried-and-true roasting method and pan-seared the beef to lock in the flavor, and then proceeded with wrapping the beef and baking it.

Problem: Too Salty!

Second, the recipe called for pancetta. Glorious pancetta. What could go wrong there? Well, pancetta is pretty salty, and the saltiness took over the more subtle flavors of beef and spinach.

The Simple Fix:

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I opted for a spinach-and-feta mixture that uses onions and garlic to maximize the savory flavor blend without extra salt. I turned to another tried-and-true element here and used the same filling I use for spanakopita. I know that you can use this mixture with pastry and not have it turn out too salty!

Problem: Sticky Egg Wash

One final problem: The egg wash, which again, prioritized the pastry and made it look gorgeous, stuck to the pan and made it hard to remove the beef wellington.

The Simple Fix: Parchment paper! Parchment paper can withstand baking temperatures of up to 420 degrees, so it’s safe to use for this recipe and super convenient for clean-up!

So, go ahead and add this recipe to your Easter menu! It’s impressive and elegant, and we’ve done thorough troubleshooting! The spinach-feta and beef combination is absolutely irresistible!

Surround beef with feta-spinach mixture, wrap it in cling wrap, and freeze it for 30-45 minutes so it is easier to work with!

Surround beef with feta-spinach mixture, wrap it in cling wrap, and freeze it for 30-45 minutes so it is easier to work with!

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Individual Spinach-Feta Beef Wellingtons
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Course
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Materials: microwave-safe cling wrap, parchment paper
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs sirloin steak
  • 2 puff pastry sheets
  • 20 ounces frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ pound feta, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
Instructions
  1. Saute onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat, until soft and golden (about 8 minutes).
  2. In a colander, wring out the well defrosted spinach so that is is quite dry. You don't want the spinach to add much extra moisture that would make the beef wellington soggy. Combine spinach and feta. Add herbs, spices, onion and garlic. Set aside.
  3. Cut beef into individual portions, about 2-3 inches wide. Brown on all sides in a heavy pan. Set aside until cool enough to work with, and then pat dry to remove any excess moisture.
  4. Spread out 6 individual portions of cling wrap, large enough to wrap around the beef, and spread the spinach-feta mixture evenly on top. When beef has cooled slightly, place it in the center of the spinach-feta mixture and wrap the beef so that the spinach-feta surrounds it. Place in freezer for 30-45 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, on a generously floured surface, roll out puff pastry and cut it into six individual portions large enough to completely surround the beef. Brush with egg. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  6. When beef is ready (i.e., the spinach-mixture clings to the beef), place the plastic-wrapped beef in the center of the puff pastry and remove and discard the cling wrap. Now wrap the beef in the puff pastry, place seam-side down on the prepared cookie sheet and brush with egg.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and beef reaches an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four Reasons to Make These Easy Carne Asada Tacos Now

Tacos feel like summertime, but citrus fruits, like the many limes these carne asada tacos call for, reach their peak when it’s winter in Pennsylvania.

That’s the first thing that makes these Carne Asada Broiler Tacos a winter delight. Here are three other reasons:

  1. They’re super easy! Just a few ingredients, many of which you probably have on hand, and you’re on your way. And not only that, they’re convenient to make ahead of time. You can marinate them in the morning and all of the spicy, zesty flavors will have seeped into the steak by dinnertime. That’s good news for busy winter evenings, and good news as the short month of February flies past our eyes in a flash….even if it is leap year!
  2. February is the month when winter really starts to drag, at least for me. By February I’m ready to see some crocuses. I’m ready for more daylight. I’m ready to trade in grim gray landscapes for some sparkling bright green grass. Tacos feel like summertime, and I need a hint of summertime this month. I need some LIMES, with all their dancing zesty party flavors!
  3. Flank steak! This steak is a lean, flavorful cut. It lends itself to marinades, becoming more tender after marinating at least 2 hours.

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Ready to get your end-of-winter taco party started? Here we go!

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Easy Carne Asada Broiler Tacos
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Tex Mex
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb flank steak
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • MARINADE:
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Mexican spices: 1 teaspoon ground cumin, ¼ teaspoon each ground cayenne pepper and ground black pepper, and ½ teaspoon each chili powder, oregano and salt.
  • ¾ cup fresh cilantro, chopped or snipped with kitchen shears
  • ¼ cup diced sweet onion
  • TOPPINGS:
  • cilantro
  • caramelized onions
  • lime juice
  • avocado
  • favorite salsa
  • cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Combine marinade ingredients in a freezer bag or container and marinate steak for 3-4 hours or more.
  2. Broil steak to medium rare (140 degrees), 6-12 minutes per side, turning only once. Discard marinade.
  3. Slice into thin strips.
  4. Top tacos with steak and toppings!

 

Make-Ahead Beef Bourguignon

I like to time travel. Traveling forward has been possible in my imagination and in the episodes of Star Trek and Doctor Who I used to watch with my dad when I was a kid.

Traveling backward is much easier. A few months ago, I traveled back in time at Chicago’s Newberry Library, where a librarian carted out several books from the archives so I could look through them. One was so delicate he brought it out to me on a cushion! At my table in the hushed room, the people of the early 1800s period started to come to life in their words.

Watching Julia Child cook feels like time travel to me.

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When I watch episodes of “The French Chef,” I step into a kitchen that looks like the one in the house my grandparents purchased in the 1950s: spare and efficient, full of cabinets. Julia Child’s imperfections also feel like time travel to me. Today’s cooking shows would edit out the kitchen slip-ups to make cooking feel like a performance. But Julia Child’s imperfections stay, making us feel like we can do this too. (My favorite of her slip-ups: “I meant to put oil in the pot but instead I put vermouth. But that will be just fine.”) Julia Child’s first episode focused on “Boeuf Bourguignon,” which is what this blog article is really all about.

Making beef bourguignon felt especially like time travel to me because I made this easy make-ahead version via a cooking method used for millennia: clay pot cooking.

There’s good reason this cooking method is still around in cultures across the world. It gives the meal more moisture, and it makes it sweeter. You soak the clay for 15 minutes before cooking, and then as the clay warms up, it steams whatever you are roasting or baking ever so slightly, making it more moist and tender. The Kitchn points out that clay is alkaline, so clay will neutralize acidic foods and bring out their sweetness. (Yep, the next meal I make in this clay pot will be a tomato-based pasta sauce of some sort… I can just feel it…)

An added benefit: the clay pot gives you a no-fuss way to roast or braise fairly quickly. If you forgot to set up the crock pot but want that slow-cooked tenderness, the clay pot comes to the rescue!

Ready to start cooking with clay? Be sure to check out these tips for using a clay pot, including the all-important instructions NOT to place your clay pot in a preheated oven (the pot will crack).

Not into time-travel? Craving Beef Bourguignon now and don’t have a clay pot handy? I’ll include dutch oven and crock pot variations below.

beef bourguignon

Make-Ahead Beef Bourguignon
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: French
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Crock pot version: Follow same "make ahead" instructions but add to crock pot immediately and cook on low for 8-10 hours (or on high for 4-5). Dutch oven version: See below.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound Lone Star Farm beef cubes
  • flour, as needed
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 8 ounces baby bello mushrooms, large ones quartered, small ones whole
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • 4 small golden potatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1¼ cup Burgundy or Pinot Noir
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 whole bay leaves
  • several sprigs of fresh thyme
Instructions
MAKE AHEAD, in the morning (takes about 20 minutes):
  1. Add flour (enough to coat the beef cubes) to a medium bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss beef cubes in bowl to coat.
  2. Heat butter and olive oil in a large pan until butter melts. Brown meat on all sides, remove to a large container for storage, along with all other ingredients except the bacon, shallots and mushrooms.
  3. Wipe the pan and fry the bacon until crisp and drain on a paper towel. Add to a separate storage container so bacon remains fairly crisp. Brown mushrooms and shallots in the same pan, in leftover bacon fat. Transfer to your storage container, and stir ingredients.
COOKING, in the evening (about 1 and a half hours before serving):
  1. Soak clay pot in cold water for 15 minutes. Transfer the ingredients to the clay pot. Place pot on a center rack of the COLD oven. Heat oven to 450. Cook about an hour and half, until meat is tender. The dish will continue to cook when removed from the oven, as long as it is kept in the pot.

DUTCH OVEN VERSION:

MAKE AHEAD, in the morning (takes about 20 minutes):
1. Add flour (enough to coat the beef cubes) to a medium bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss beef cubes in bowl to coat.
2. Heat butter and olive oil in a dutch oven until butter melts. Brown meat on all sides, remove to a plate.
3. Wipe excess grease, fry the bacon until crisp and drain on a paper towel.  4. Brown mushrooms and shallots in leftover bacon fat. Add all ingredients except bacon back into the dutch oven and stir. Store in refrigerator, on a very stable shelf since dutch ovens are heavy. Add bacon to a separate storage container so bacon remains fairly crisp.
COOKING, in the evening (about 2 hours before serving):
Preheat oven to 450. Cook an hour and a half to 2 hours, until meat is tender.

 

 

 

Christmas Pot Roast

What time does your family wake up on Christmas Day to open presents? If they wake up early, that means this delicious sweet-and-sour pot roast recipe can go into the crock pot for a full 8 hours on low.

If, on the other hand, your brood is recovering from a busy fall and snagging the chance to sleep in on the holiday, you can still start this recipe later in the day and cook it 4 hours on high.

Ah, the beauty of beef and a slow-cooker.

You can begin to prep this recipe on Christmas Eve, or even the day before. I prepped the veggies and fruit a day ahead and was able to cook the beef, onions and broth in about 20 minutes.

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The resulting pot roast tastes rich and full of complex flavors. It tastes like winter. Okay, maybe not as much like winter as scooping up a bowl of new-fallen snow and drizzling it with maple syrup. But almost that much. It tastes like winter in the way a piping hot cup of spiced cider tastes like winter. The spices fit the season.

One note about using dates in this meal. Even though you are slicing them to improve their appearance and spread the flavor around the dish, resist the temptation to use pre-chopped dates unless you can see that the only ingredient is dates. Most store-bought chopped dates use an artificial sweetener, such as dextrose, and you want to avoid making this recipe sickly sweet. You want to strike a balance between the sweet, tart and meaty flavors.

Christmas Pot Roast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 3 lb boneless beef chuck roast
  • 1 teaspoon minced orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce
  • ¾ cup whole pitted dates, sliced
  • ⅓ cup fresh cranberries
  • 5 carrots, washed but unpeeled, chopped
  • 3 sweet potatoes, scrubbed but unpeeled, cut into eighths
  • brown rice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Place carrots and sweet potatoes on the bottom of the crock pot.
  2. Create a rub with salt, pepper and minced orange zest and rub into roast.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy pot. Add roast and cook until browned, about 8 minutes per side. It will develop a good, brown crust. Transfer roast to crock pot, scatter dates and cranberries on top, and cover to keep it warm.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon oil and onions to pot and saute until dark brown and soft. Add vinegar and cardamom. It will boil and reduce quickly, glazing the onions. Scrape up any browned bits. Add broth, orange juice and tomato sauce and boil. Pour over roast in crock pot.
  5. Cook 8-10 hours on low, 4-5 hours on high.

 

Conversing About Conserving: An Update on Lone Star Farm’s Conservation Plan

Last year, Ernie Beiler gave us an overview of elements of the conservation plan Lone Star Farm has put into place over the last several years. This week, I caught up with him to see what he has noticed one year later.

FarmOverall, his assessment is that each piece of this conservation plan is “doing its job.” The Beilers had done careful research before implementing the four major conservation tools they now have in place on the farm, and they are pleased–but not surprised–to see that everything works the way it should and has improved the landscape of their farm. Still, Ernie notes one surprise: “I’m surprised we didn’t do it sooner!”

Let’s check in about each of the four major elements that make Lone Star Farm an environmentally friendly place:

No-Till Program & Cover Crops

The no-till program, which leaves the soil undisturbed and allows beneficial organisms to thrive there, was the first conservation step for Lone Star Farm. Since implementing the no-till program six or seven years ago, they have seen far less erosion, and their crops–which feed their cows–have flourished.

Our crops flourish with no-till program

It’s been a huge time-savings for the Beilers, too. Fieldwork used to eat up their time, but now custom operators plant and harvest most of the crops. These custom operators use less equipment, which saves on fossil fuels and reduces pollution.

In the winter, rather than leaving fields bare, custom operators plant a cover crop, such as wheat or rye, which holds the soil in place and prevents erosion caused by winter’s wind and spring’s thaws.

Grass Waterway

Between the waterway and the no-till program, the Beilers have seen concrete changes in the way the farm looks.

They used to see deep gullies, caused by neighbors’ runoff on its way to the creek. Now, the 40-foot-wide waterway’s rich grasses slow water down on its path through the fields, preventing that kind of erosion.

They have also noticed an improvement in the field behind their house. It’s a gentle slope, so the Beilers didn’t consider it a place that would see significant erosion, but in the past, they have had gullies there. Now, with water redirected through the waterway and the no-till program improving the soil structure, they have not seen the same issues.

Bottom line: They used to have to try hard to contain and stay after the runoff; now, they don’t have to fight it. It goes where there are systems in place to control it.

Stream Bank Fencing

Four years ago, the Beilers first planted trees around their stream to create the natural buffer zone referred to as “stream bank fencing.”

This area has become a particularly “wild” part of the farm, with the trees around the stream attracting more and more wildlife. Ernie notes that they have seen turtles, ducks, eagles, mink, muskrats and, yes, even snakes. One evening, three or four weeks ago, they saw a small buck right by their house. They had never seen deer so close to the house before. Nature is more and more at home on their farm!

As the older trees establish themselves, new voluntary tree growth follows. Out by the stream, walnut, maple and oak trees have begun to grow.

Manure Storage

The new manure storage continues to do its job, which means that the manure is hardly noticeable–exactly what you want when it comes to manure! This is the main way the conservation plan benefits the cows–their surroundings stay cleaner and so do they.

Nestled in scenic Lancaster County, Lone Star Farm is part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. It’s strategically placed to help improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay itself, and the Beilers are committed to this conservation plan because they want to see the bay–and the region’s water systems as a whole– flourish.