I’ll be the first to admit that ‘ethical’ eating is not the easiest thing to do. I say ‘ethical’ because to me, everyone has their own idea of what the means. As I said yesterday, to me that means knowing as much about the food I’m eating and where it has come from as I can. Finding free-range, humanely produced meat isn’t all that easy in Brisbane and it’s definitely not inexpensive.
For people on a budget like this tight-wad food blogger, it’s sometimes a case of eating less meat but it doesn’t always have to be. There are some cuts of meat that are still well-priced and if you know how to cook them, they can taste just as good as a premium cut without the gourmet price tag.
On my last visit to the Noosa Farmers Markets I discovered Bonnie Beef. I’ll let them tell you their story.
From the Bonnie Beef website:
When eating our beef, you will know exactly where it has come from, avoiding the uncertainty associated with all the middle men who are involved with the product on a supermarket shelf. This is your opportunity to secure a reliable supply of top quality beef straight from the farmer at prices which are free of manipulation or greed. From farm to family, humanely bred beef.
You can see why I like them can’t you? I wanted to make Mexican shredded beef in the slow cooker but I wasn’t sure which cut to use. No need to worry, the very helpful lady at the stall pointed me in the right direction and was soon wrapping up a blade roast for me. As she wrapped it in the butchers paper and tied it up with string she told me about the animal it had come from. She told me his temperament about his mum and dad and that he’d been a happy cow.
If the meat tasted as good as the friendly stall holder promise it would I had found my new beef supplier.
I took the fillet home and prepared it ridiculously simply. My slow-cooker has a removable pan so I sealed the beef on all sides in the pan then plonked it into the slow cooker. I poured a tin of organic crushed Italian tomatoes over the top and tumbled in some kidney beans from the freezer. After a sprinkling of herbs and spices I clamped on the lid, set it to low and walked away.
Eight hours later I unveiled the most succulent pieces of beef I’ve ever cooked.
I had to pull out a few small chunks of fat that came away with ease and then shredding it up was as easy as tearing two forks through the tender meat as you would a rake through a Japanese Zen garden.
The total coast for this giant pot of tasty shredded meat? About $25. That’s $25 for an ethically-produced dinner for 8. Yes you have to add a few things depending on how you want to serve it but it’s not bad is it? See eating ‘ethically’ doesn’t have to cost the earth.
What about you? Do you buy meat from the farmers market?
- 1kg beef blade roast
- 1 400g tin crushed tomato
- 1 400g tin kidney beans
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp dried coriander
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Heat the oil in a large pan (my slow-cooker has a removable pan so I used that) then cook the meat on all sides just until browned and sealed.
- Plonk the beef in the bowl of the slow-cooker.
- Pour over the crushed tomatoes and scatter the kidney beans.
- Sprinkle the top with the herbs and spices and clamp on the lid.
- Turn the cooker on to low and leave it to do its thing for at least 8 hours.
- Take the lid off and stick a fork through the tender flesh.
- If it goes through easily then carefully remove any large chunks of fat then grab another fork and tear the meat to shreds.
- Stir it all together then pop the lid back on for 30 minutes.
- Serve in warm tortillas, over nachos or baked potato or however you like.
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