Cheap Eats: Stew Edition. And also a bit about The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

So I got my meat share a couple weeks ago and Woohoo! I’m so excited to have access to 100% grass fed and finished beef.  The farm we bought from also has their own processing plant and they only process a few animals a DAY (compared to the up to 400 animals processed per HOUR at one of the Big Five processers.  Thanks, Ominvore’s Dilemma, for that tidbit!) to keep the final moments of life as stress-free as possible.

This is all very important to me.  Americans have gotten used to and in fact demand cheap food, regardless of whether that food is actually good for them (and the planet. and their children and grandchildren) or not.  Ground beef at 1.99/lb frees up people to have satellite TV and drive their latest model hybrid SUV (isn’t that an oxymoron?). 

 T pointed out the irony to me a few days ago that people will get all up in arms about demanding quality of so many things that they are paying for….except food.  That is the one place they will cut corners and buy poor quality, even if it comes at the risk of cancer, diabetes or obesity.  And not only that, DEMAND that it BE cheap, be incensed if it’s “too expensive”, relatively speaking. 

Perhaps because food is the one area where it’s actually possible to hide poor quality–by manipulating taste and fooling our bodies.  As long as it fills you up and tastes good, it doesn’t matter if it is produced off the backs of animals sweltering in feedlots filled with their own excrement, fed diets that they were never meant to eat, or that the quality of soil on the American farm steadily declines as it has for the past 50 or 60 years since contemporary growing practices became the norm or that the American farmer can’t make ends meet but are caught in the agribusiness web of lies that preys on both producer and consumer…and consumee.

Oh, but I digress.

Can you tell I’ve been reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma?  If you haven’t read it, you ought to.  Everyone who eats food should.

Anyway, because my 100% grass-fed beef did in fact cost more than $1.99/lb, now my goal is to dole it out as slowly as possible.  I’ve actually made dishes that contained meat TWICE this week and it seems so profligate! 

One fabulous way of stretching the meat budget is in soup and stew and casseroles.  Basically, one dish meals that you can toss lots of veggies, beans, grains into as well.

Tonight’s dish was a great winter chili made with sausage. I combined a couple different recipes and it was really good.

Using my 1 pound of ground pastured pork from the farmer’s market, I got 6 servings out of this:

Ingredients:

1 lb pastured pork or sausage
1 c. white beans, soaked overnight in water and 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (this is the only thing you have to do ahead for this one) (or use a can of beans, with a side of BPA)
2 c. pumpkin or squash puree (again with the BPA!  Unless you make your own puree, which I did because it’s not hard, it just takes baking time)
2 cups broth (I used veggie broth since I had it)
1 large onion, chopped
5 mushrooms, sliced (or can of mushrooms. or pre-sliced. whatever)
1 large carrots, chopped in large hunks
1/4 c. cream to stir in at end (optional. unless you are me. and then cream is never optional. much like cheese.)

Season with: 2 tsp cocoa powder, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp garlic

Top with: frizzled sage leaves, fresh cilantro, chopped parsley, feta cheese, etc.

How to:

1. Boil beans, if not using canned, till tender. Fry sausage and remove from pan. Fry onions and mushrooms together and set aside.
2. Add all ingredients, except mushroom and onion (I like to have my onions not be to mushy but you can add them all in together if its easier) to crock pot and simmer on low all day.
3. Stir in cream at end if using, top with whatever you like.
4.  Eat.  Also good with a side of toasted multi-grain bread.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The Mom
    Nov 17, 2010 @ 09:21:04

    Are you sure that wasn’t 2 CUPS cocoa powder??

    And is frizzled sage anything like frazzled sage? I’m very familiar with the word “frazzled”.

    Reply

  2. Rachel
    Nov 30, 2010 @ 17:51:13

    Yea! I’m glad you read the book! I knew you would appreciate it. Enjoy the meat! : )

    Reply

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