I’ve been busy to say the least. Busy gaining weight, busy eating a ton of food… good and bad, busy trying to learn as much as I can about factory farming, busy trying to start a Slow Food chapter in Reno and busy trying to overhaul the kinds of meat products we are using at Dish.
Let me tell you, it is not easy to source humanely-raised, antibiotic-free, hormone-free meats. My normal distributor doesn’t carry any of the brands I was looking for. Well, wait, they do carry them, but the price is triple what we are paying now for ham, roast beef, turkey, bacon and salami.
So I moved on to our secondary distributor and called them. They didn’t have anything! Both of these companies are national and the leaders in their industry, but they carry very few organic and pretty much no humanely-raised options of any kind. Blah… supply and demand I suppose!
I was starting to really get panicked until I thought of calling another company out of Sacramento that services Reno. They came through… In fact today we received our first shipment of humanely-raised, antibiotic and hormone-free turkey, ham and salami as well as Niman Ranch applewood smoked bacon. We also are now getting our eggs through a farm that lets their chickens run around on natural ground with sunlight on their backs!
As for sourcing meats for my home, well that’s a bit more problematic. None of the supermarkets in town carry anything on the pork side that is even close to humanely raised. I’ve called quite a few places and have met with everything from laughs to surprise that I would want to buy humanely-raised meats. What are you supposed to do?
We fortunately have a Whole Foods in town, so I have started to buy anything pork-related from them. I’ve also looked up all the local farms within 100 miles and have contacted a few of them who raise beef and pigs. Our plan is to visit each of them to see how they are raising their animals and then put together a group of people to purchase the meat! I challenge you to do the same thing. Yes it costs more, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I will just eat half as much meat as I did before!
So the good news is we are starting to make a difference. Actually based on the amount of meat we use, I would say we are making a huge difference.
So on to Pot Roast. I found this recipe in Gourmet Magazine a few months back and instantly had to make it. It was super simple, but included a huge amount of caramelized onions. Since I started cooking I’ve had quite a bit of a problem really caramelizing onions well. Either I don’t cook them long enough or I burn the crap out of them. So keep your eyes on them and don’t walk away for long!
This is the perfect weekend night dinner before the temperatures start heading into the 80s and 90s and a steaming pot of meat doesn’t sound so great!
Super Rad Pot Roast
Serves 6 to 8
- 3 lb onions
- 1 – 5 pound, grass fed, boneless beef chuck roast, tied
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 2 Turkish bay leaves
- 2 (12-oz) bottles beer
- 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
Pat beef dry and season all over with 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wide 5- to 6-qt heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown beef on all sides, about 15 minutes, then transfer to a plate.
Cook onions with bay leaves and 1 teaspoon salt in remaining tablespoon oil in pot, scraping up brown bits from bottom and stirring occasionally, until onions are well browned, about 25 to 35 minutes. Add beer and vinegar to onions and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up brown bits. Add beef and meat juices from plate and return to a boil.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in middle. Cut a round of parchment paper the diameter of the inside of pot (near the top).
Cover with parchment round and lid and braise in oven until meat is very tender when pierced in several places with a meat fork, about 4 1/2 hours.
Transfer beef to a cutting board and let stand, loosely covered, 20 minutes. Cut off string, then slice meat. Skim off fat from sauce and discard bay leaves.
Serve braised beef with onions and sauce and devour!