When I was growing up, one of the most common side dishes we had, and perhaps the most popular, was roast potatoes. These potatoes roasted right in the pan with the meat or poultry, picking up great flavor from the drippings of the roast. They were crisp and caramelized on the outside, soft and tender on the inside, and absolutely delicious. And they went perfectly with the roast that flavored them.
Now, we usually make these potatoes whenever we have a roast, which is often, and we never tire of them. I thought for many years that just about all cooks made them.
I was greatly surprised to learn recently that many people have never even tasted these potatoes, which have been such a welcome and common presence at our table for so many years.
I think this is due in part to the demonization of fat, since these potatoes must be cooked and flavored with fat. Nevertheless, this side dish is so easy and so delicious that I would like to share my recipe, including a secret tip from my mother, with those who are interested in making them.
First, you need a roast. This can be any kind of beef, lamb, or pork roast. A turkey or a chicken also works. But ducks and geese give off too much fat for this method. A beef, lamb, or pork roast should have a nice fat cap. If the meat does not have a decent fat cap, you can cover it with butter, or beef tallow, or lard, or duck fat, or goose fat. The turkey or chicken must have the skin on, and should be also coated with butter or some kind good natural fat. The roast is cooked without a rack, placed fat side up in the case of meat, or breast side up in the case of poultry. You can place it on some vegetables, such as onion circles, which I often do, or directly on the pan. This recipe cannot work if a rack is used.
The potatoes I use are usually russet, though Yukon gold potatoes also work very well. I only use organic potatoes, as I try to avoid pesticides, and the flavor is much better.
The potatoes are peeled, and sliced into circles about one half inch thick. My mother’s secret, which I have also found in some very old cookbooks, is to place the peeled and sliced potatoes into a pan, cover them with water, add a little salt, and bring them to a rolling boil. They are then boiled for five minutes, no more, no less, then drained.
This secret might not sound like much, but it makes a huge difference.
A large roasting pan, not aluminum or non stick, is well greased with oil or butter, or lard, or any good animal fat.
The roast is placed in the center of the pan. No rack is used.
The potatoes are placed all around the roast, in the empty spaces. There is a great temptation to cram as many potato slices into the pan as possible, but the potatoes will be better if there is a little space between them, so they are not touching. I keep this space as small as possible.
The roast is cooked according to its recipe, and the potatoes are turned over once, when the roast has cooked for half the estimated cooking time.
The roast is basted with the drippings at least once, and preferably two or three times. This will add great flavor to the roast and the potatoes.
The potatoes are ready when the roast is, and should come out crusty but not hard or burned, and wonderfully soft inside, with an incredible caramelized flavor from the drippings and the spices used with the roast.
These potatoes are particularly wonderful with a prime rib beef roast, as there is a flavor that only prime rib has that gives them a special, wonderful taste. But they are also wonderful with other roasts.
This is a very old and traditional way to eat potatoes, and one I never tire of.
I cook many kinds of meat, in many ways. Often there are leftovers, which I would dutifully place in the appropriate containers and put in the refrigerator. I would look at them in the refrigerator, from time to time, and decide there was not enough left to make a meal. Then, after enough time expired, I would throw them out.
At least that used to be my pattern. Now I use them to make delicious meals. As usual, the inspiration came from our ancestors. They would often combine different kinds of meat in the same dish, often with many different vegetables. It occurred to me that this could solve my problem of not having enough left over of a particular meat to make a meal. So I started combining them into stews and curries.
If I have small amounts of leftover beef, chicken, lamb, pork, or other meat, I will combine them. Since the meat has already been cooked, there is no need for marinating or browning, and the stews and curries cook very quickly. The curries are quicker to cook than the stews, so I make them more often.
I use the same recipe to cook leftover meats. It always turns out delicious, is ready in no more than 30 minutes, and is full of great nutrition. Here is the recipe:
2 to 3 cups of leftover meat (such as beef, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey, or any or all of the above), sliced or chopped into small, thin pieces
4 tablespoons organic butter, (or organic ghee, or organic coconut oil)
1 large organic onion, peeled and sliced
3 large cloves organic garlic, peeled and sliced
A piece of organic fresh ginger, about 1 inch long and 1 inch thick, chopped into tiny pieces
3 or more tablespoons of the organic curry powder of your choice, (I use the organic curry powder sold by Mountain Rose Herbs)
2 tablespoons organic flour of your choice, (which can include non-grain flours such as almond flour)
1 1/4 cups homemade broth of your choice
2 tablespoons pure fish sauce, (I use Red Boat Fish Sauce, as I love its taste, traditional way of being made, and it makes me feel good when I eat it)
- Heat the fat in a heavy frying pan, preferably cast iron, over medium heat, until the fat bubbles. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the curry powder and the flour, and mix with the vegetables in the pan.
- Add the broth and fish sauce, and stir until the mixture thickens, and starts to simmer. Add the meat and mix well. Bring the mixture back to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, and cover the pan. Simmer covered for 25 minutes. Serve with the organic rice of your choice.
Most Americans think of corned beef and cabbage when it comes to a traditional Irish meal on St. Patrick’s Day. In Ireland itself, the selection is much more varied, including steak, prime rib roast, stew, or a pot roast made from fresh meat.
One of the glories of Irish cuisine is the magnificent quality of the native ingredients. Most of the beef raised in Ireland is still grassfed and grass-finished, and raised on small farms.
This recipe depends on the quality of the ingredients, and the better the ingredients, the better the dish.
The new beef brisket point introduced by U.S. Wellness Meats is perfect for this recipe. It has the deep beefy flavor of grassfed beef, and a nice fat cap that is needed for this recipe. It is important that all the other ingredients be of high quality as well, meaning organic (or the equivalent) vegetables and herbs, Guinness® stout from Ireland itself, and rich, deeply flavored grassfed beef broth. And it does have a bit of green in it, in the form of green onions and thyme.
This recipe is absolutely delicious and the meat is very tender and flavorful. Here’s the link to the recipe which is posted on the U.S. Wellness Meats blog:
Some years ago, my wife and I had a favorite Thai Restaurant, and we really enjoyed their Thai coffee, a very cold, sweet, and flavorful drink, very refreshing and tasty. Nothing like it on a hot day.
The restaurant closed, we discovered real food, and we just stopped having Thai coffee. A couple of Thai restaurants opened in our area, and we remembered how much we liked the previous one, so we decided to try them out. We were delighted to see that the first restaurant had Thai coffee. But being committed to real food, we had to ask if it had sugar or any other sweetener. “Lots of sugar,” said the waitress. We had given up eating refined sugar a long time ago, so this coffee was out.
The second restaurant also had Thai coffee on the menu. When we asked about sweeteners, once again we heard that there was lots of sugar.
We wanted Thai coffee! But not the sugar.
So I checked out my library of cookbooks, and found three books on Thai cooking. Two of them had recipes for Thai coffee. Interestingly enough, neither recipe added sugar, but both depended heavily on canned evaporated milk. No way to know where the milk came from, or what the cows were fed or given, or what cooking and canning milk would do to its nutritional qualities.
But we still wanted Thai coffee! So what could we do? Invent our own version, of course. We decided to leave out all sweeteners and substitute cream, real, heavy cream from a good organic dairy for the evaporated milk. The recipe was very simple, and very delicious. It did not taste like our memory of Thai coffee, not exactly, but it was very good, creamy, cold, and just delicious. And very refreshing. The recipe is simplicity itself.
Simple Thai Coffee for Two
Chill a pint of strong coffee in the refrigerator.
For each serving, fill a tall glass about seven-eighths full of shaved ice, (or ice crushed in a blender), preferably made from filtered water.
Add enough coffee to the ice until the glass is three-quarters full of coffee.
Add enough fresh, rich, heavy, organic cream to fill up the glass. Mix well with a spoon.
Serve and enjoy.
Some of the more affordable cuts of meat are also the most flavorful. They can be very tender if properly cooked. Beef short ribs are such a cut, with a deep beefy flavor, and a wonderful unique texture. Grassfed short ribs are particularly flavorful. Short ribs are highly valued in Korea, where they are often thinly cut, marinated, and grilled.
The marinades always include some soy sauce, which is a problem for those avoiding soy. This short rib stew uses some traditional Korean flavorings, and my favorite substitute for soy sauce, Red Boat fish sauce. I actually prefer to use Red Boat fish sauce to any soy sauce, as it gives a better flavor to the dish. The apples may seem unusual, but they give a wonderful flavor to the dish. It makes its own gravy as it cooks, and is so easy. Yet it is one of the most delicious recipes for beef short ribs I have ever eaten.
2 pounds boneless grassfed short ribs
1 (2-inch) piece organic ginger, finely chopped
3 cloves organic garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons Red Boat fish sauce
2 tablespoons organic toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon raw organic honey
1 teaspoon freshly ground organic black pepper
1 large organic onion, chopped
2 organic apples, preferably Fuji, peeled and chopped into small cubes
- Trim the fat on the ribs to no more than one quarter inch thick. Cut the boneless ribs into one inch squares.
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Place all ingredients in a sturdy casserole, preferably cast iron or enameled cast iron. Mix very well. Cover the pot and place in the oven.
- Cook for 3 hours at 250 degrees. This wonderful dish will be ready in 3 hours. Yes, it really is that easy.
Lamb has often been a traditional food for Easter. My family will be enjoying a grassfed leg of lamb this Sunday, using traditional flavorings. Lamb may just be the most popular meat in the world, enjoyed in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America, not to mention Australia and New Zealand.
But usually not in the United States. Americans generally dislike lamb, and rarely eat it. Many Americans who taste American lamb find it gamy and not tasty.
But there are specific reasons why some American lamb tastes this way. The right kind of lamb, raised on its natural feed, properly spiced and cooked, is some of the most delicious meat you will ever eat.
The Problems with American Lamb
American lamb used to be wonderful, especially lamb raised in the west, by experienced Basque shepherds. But times have changed.
Most of the lamb in the world is grassfed only. But not in the United States. Most American lamb is finished on grain. This causes the lambs to grow bigger and faster, and increases profits. However, lamb, more than any other meat, tastes like what it eats. Most of the grains fed to lamb are the same GMO corn and GMO soy fed to factory cattle. Grain feeding, in my opinion, totally ruins the taste of lamb. Grass feeding, on rich pastures full of wild herbs, can give a wonderful taste to lamb.
Another problem is that much American lamb comes from breeds developed for wool, not meat. These wool breeds often have a bad taste and smell that meat breeds do not have.
American lamb is also too big, which has a negative effect on taste. The standards as to what can be called lamb are quite lax in the U.S., and older animals can now legally be sold as lamb. The selling of older lambs also contributes to the size problem.
Here is an example. A leg of lamb in the U.S. often weighs eight to ten pounds, or even more. In most other countries, a leg of lamb is closer to four to five pounds in weight.
Lamb also needs to be cooked properly. Traditional cuisines cook lamb with a variety of herbs, spices, vegetables, and marinades that really enhance its taste and provide absolutely wonderful meat. Americans generally do not know how to cook lamb.
The Grassfed Solution
Lamb should only be grassfed, in my opinion. The flavor is far superior, especially if the pasture is good, and it also has the health benefits of grassfed meat. Grassfed lamb can be found in the U.S., though it can take some effort. I have also found good grassfed lamb in the U.S. that is imported from New Zealand. Some imported and domestic grassfed lamb can be incredibly expensive, so it pays to shop carefully and compare prices.
Lamb should also come from a meat breed, rather than a wool breed. There are some breeds that are supposed to be equally good for meat and wool, but I personally prefer the flavor of a meat breed, raised on grass.
I also try to buy meat from smaller lambs, as I find the flavor to be milder and superior. This can be a challenge, but is well worth the effort.
It is also important to know how to cook the lamb, and to use some of the traditional flavorings that have enhanced the flavor of lamb for thousands of years. My cookbooks Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue have many delicious recipes for lamb using traditional ingredients. These include garlic, green herbs such as rosemary and thyme, traditional olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and others.
Here is a link to a recipe for grassfed lamb that I developed for Easter, which is an example of how good grassfed lamb really can be.
I am happy to announce that I have been selected as the U.S. Wellness Meats Featured Chef for November. This is quite an honor.
Being the Featured Chef means that I was asked to develop four new recipes that will be posted on their website. The first of these recipes, a magnificent prime rib with an herb crust that would be ideal for a special holiday dinner is already up. The other recipes will be posted later this month.
U.S. Wellness Meats holds a special place in my heart. They sold me the first grassfed meat I successfully cooked. Since then, I have been a regular customer.
I am also an admirer of John Wood, the founder of U.S. Wellness Meats. John has made quality grassfed meat available through the Internet in an astonishing variety of cuts, along with a wonderful line of organ meat sausages that make it easy to get the unique nutrients of organ meats in a tasty form. There are many other great products available from U.S. Wellness Meats that are hard to find elsewhere, such as grassfed beef tallow and grassfed lamb tallow. John has also used holistic land management techniques developed by the Savory Institute to constantly improve and enrich the soil of his farm, while raising quality cattle. This is a model that I would like to see spread throughout the entire country, replacing the CAFOs and factory farms.
U.S. Wellness Meats is a longtime sponsor and supporter of my favorite organization The Weston A. Price Foundation, which spreads the truth about food and nutrition. John will be speaking at the WAPF Wise Traditions 2012 Conference that will be taking place November 8 to 12th, in Santa Clara, California.
I am also grateful to John Wood for the great support he has given me in the creation of my books. Not only did John give me valuable information about raising grassfed meat, he gave me constant encouragement and support while Tender Grassfed Meat was being written. When the book was published, John immediately bought a large number of copies, and U.S. Wellness Meats began selling the books.
Here is the link to my Featured Chef page at U.S. Wellness Meats, which also includes some interesting food questions and my answers:
Here is the link to the four recipes I hinted at last month. They are delicious, and free. A magnificent prime rib, a Spanish short rib dish, a tender brisket, and the ultimate Paleo meatloaf, with organ meats. Enjoy!
This post is part of Weekend Gourmet blog carnival.
One of the almost inevitable issues created by the Thanksgiving feast is what to do with the leftovers. One of the recipes in Tender Grassfed Meat is the best solution I have come up with. Not only does it solve the problem, it gives you a delicious, flavorful broth full of nutrients.
This is a traditional broth, using only real food. Even the salt is unrefined. In fact, this recipe works great for those on Paleo or Primal diets. The only exception would be those whose version of a Paleo or Primal diet excludes salt. I am convinced that the cave people ate salt. First, if you do not get enough salt, you die. They survived and thrived. Second, every hunter-gatherer group ever studied added salt to their food, at least some of the time. They got their salt from the same source the cave people probably did—salt licks. They found the salt licks the same way—by tracking animals, because they knew the animals would know where to find salt. Yes, even wild animals eat salt, and they know where to find it.
I have gotten very positive feedback on this recipe. If you do not have giblets, the soup will still be great. Here it is:
This broth is THE solution for leftover turkey, for all of it. The leftover turkey bones become a valued asset, contributing minerals, natural gelatin, and many nutrients. I always save the turkey drumsticks for this broth, as the drumstick’s meat and many tendons transform into a wonderful gelatin in the broth. You can also use turkey wings, which are often sold separately. Turkey wings are wonderful for broth due to their high natural gelatin content. Turkey broth, much like chicken broth, is delicious and nourishing.
You will need a large stockpot for this one. Make sure that it is stainless steel, not aluminum. The long cooking time is necessary to combine the flavors, and to get the nutrients out of the bones.
Makes 6 to 8 quarts
Leftover bones and carcass from a roasted turkey, or 4 to 6 pounds turkey wings
Turkey neck, (if available)
Enough filtered water to cover the bones by 2 to 3 inches
½ cup raw organic apple cider vinegar
ASSORTED ROOT VEGETABLES
1 large organic onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 stalks of organic celery, coarsely chopped
4 large organic carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 cloves of organic garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
Several chicken giblets (if available)
Turkey giblets, (if available)
1 bunch of organic Italian parsley, each stalk cut into 2 or 3 pieces
2 tablespoons coarse unrefined sea salt
- Put the turkey into the pot, except for the giblets. Add the water and the vinegar. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Add all the vegetables, except the parsley. Heat the pot until the water begins a strong simmer. This will take a while due to the large volume of ingredients and water.
- When the water is close to boiling, remove all the scum that rises to the top with a skimming spoon. This can also take a while, but is necessary.
- Once the scum is gone, add the giblets, parsley, and the salt.
- Cover and simmer gently for 12 to 14 hours.
Using a ladle, strain into jars, cover, and refrigerate once the bottles have cooled down. The fat will rise to the top, and will solidify in the refrigerator. This fat cap will help preserve the broth. The fat should be removed before the broth is reheated.
This recipe was inspired by the broth-making techniques demonstrated in Sally Fallon Morell’s wonderful book on traditional cooking, Nourishing Traditions.
Tender Grassfed Meat contains many traditional recipes for broth, as well as grassfed meat.
By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat
Many traditional peoples would always eat vegetables with their meat. Since meat is acidic, and vegetables are alkaline, this helped them maintain a proper pH balance in their bodies.
It is a German tradition to eat plenty of vegetables with steak, and a Latin American tradition to eat a raw vegetable condiment with meat, in the form of a salsa, chimichurri, or Pebre.
My upcoming barbecue book includes several such recipes for raw vegetable condiments. This recipe did not make it into the book, because I invented it last week, and the book is done except for the index, which is well on the way. It is a very tasty and satisfying recipe, so I thought I would print it here as a gift for my readers.
This recipe combines the sweetness of organic Vidalia onions with traditional salsa ingredients to form an absolutely delicious side dish for any grassfed meat. The fresh vegetables are full of enzymes and other nutrients, which will help with digestion. While it calls for organic ingredients, the equivalent of organic is just as good.
5 ripe red organic tomatoes, finely chopped
1 medium organic Vidalia onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 organic red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 organic green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
¼ cup fresh organic cilantro leaves, finely chopped
2 stalks organic celery, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unfiltered organic extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unfiltered raw organic apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
1 teaspoon freshly ground organic black pepper
1 teaspoon coarse unrefined sea salt, crushed
1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon organic hot sauce of your choice, depending on how hot you like it (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir until well mixed. Let rest in a covered bowl for an hour before serving. Tastes best at room temperature. You can refrigerate this for a few days, if you have any left.
By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat
The United States is suffering from a widespread heat wave. The heat causes people to lose electrolytes, water, and minerals through sweating. Traditional peoples also suffered from hot weather. But they developed their own ways of cooling down. One of the oldest and easiest is a drink called Ayran, which also has other names.
Ayran was probably developed in Turkey, but it is widely used in the Middle East and the Balkans. While there are only two to four ingredients, the details and proportions differ, and there are many different versions.
Ayran includes old-fashioned, full-fat unflavored yogurt, and water. Salt is often added, sometimes mint leaves. The yogurt is full of nutrients that replenish a sweating body. The fat in the yogurt also provides energy. The salt not only replenishes lost salts, but minerals. The drink is very cooling and refreshing, and really helps deal with the heat. Ayran has no sweeteners and no chemicals, being a very pure drink.
It is best to use organic or the equivalent full-fat plain yogurt, which is what was used traditionally. Unrefined sea salt is ideal for this recipe, as it contains many minerals.
Here is the version I like best:
Makes one quart. (You can double the recipe if you wish.)
1 pound full-fat unflavored yogurt, preferably organic or the equivalent
2 cups cold filtered water
½ teaspoon unrefined sea salt
- Combine all ingredients in a blender or mixer. Blend for 1 minute.
- Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- If the mixture has separated, stir briskly until it recombines, which should happen very quickly.
Serve and enjoy this cooling drink.Next Page »