Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tough Beef Cuts for Tough Times

Because of our weak economy, it seems like everyone is working with a budget- a hamburger budget not steak! For celebrations most of us choose steak, but for family meals try less tender cuts of beef. In addition to costing less, they also have lots of flavor.

Try a chuck roast slowly braised in red wine with savory vegetables. I also have a recipe for a beef eye-of-round roast braised with tomatoes (lots of healthy lycopene)that I serve for two meals. The first meat, tender beef slices top polenta and later in the week the beef makes great sandwiches. Short ribs and stewing beef are other choices.

I think the secret to braising is to brown the meat thoroughly before adding the savory ingredients and liquid. There is a world of flavor developed as meat browns. I don't have a gas range that can simmer gently on low heat, so I find it easier to bake pot roasts at 325 degrees F. Use the pan juices to make a rich sauce to ladle over fork-tender slices.

Ground beef is the basis for many casseroles and of course, hamburgers. Dress up hamburgers with slices of tomato, bacon and avocado. Lately I have been buying ground beef (85% lean) from organic cattle and have been amazed with how good it tastes.

One of reason I favor these slow roasted one-dish dinners is that they bring back memories of my mom's pot roast, true comfort food for blustery and frigid winter weather.

1 comment:

All About Food said...

Hi Pat,
I've recently pulled out my old slow cooker. It's a great way to slowly simmer those less expensive cuts of meat. My column this week features a recipe for Red Beans and Rice that simmers in the slow cooker all day. Yum. I'll be keeping my crock pot handy.