Holy cow. What a week it has been! Monday-Wednesday seemed to never end. The frenzy and panic that the general public has ensued is more than I have ever experienced. What a whirlwind. I went from having a decent amount of meat in stock to not much at all. I have been sold out of most "normal" cuts of beef, pork, and lamb. Sold completely out of chickens, sausage, and the almighty ground beef.
I didn't see this coming. I didn't expect this kind of crazy. When I got a message last week Friday that Meijer's meat department was cleaned out I didn't really believe it. But low and behold here we are: trying to feed the masses. I had to go see for myself what the meat counter looked like on Monday... empty. Its been a week everyone. This "social distancing" thing coupled with all bars/restaurants closed to sit down meals, and school being cancelled has pushed people to go back that sit down family meal. People have to cook for themselves and take time with their families. Maybe this will benefit families in the long run, bringing them closer together. Band together in times of need. Hold each other up. Check in on your neighbors!
So what does one do with the "leftovers"? The cuts that no one seems to either:
A. not know how to cook it
B. don't know what it is
C. think its not a "good" cut of meat
D. has a weird name
So, let's give you some ideas instead of shying away from these cuts!
I think the one I get the most question about would be: Ground Lamb
So, how do you cook it? Well... it can substitute for ground beef in most any recipe! It will have a different flavor, as you might expect, but in reality it's a very worthy meat! If you would like to mitigate the "lamb" flavor, make sure to drain the fat off it when cooking. That's where most of that "sheepy" taste comes from. Use it in chili, meatballs, tacos, or one of the favorite recipes: shepherd's pie! Its traditionally made with ground lamb and is a hearty meal all in one dish.
Here's Alton Brown's Shepherd's Pie recipe https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/shepherds-pie-recipe2-1942900
Tenderized Round Steak
The round steak that we have to offer is tenderized round steak (aka cube steak or swiss steak). Our round steak is thin cut. It can be used in the traditional swiss steak recipes or things like pepper steak, or fajitas.
Beef Stew Meat
Why not have a hearty stew? It may officially be the first day of spring, but if you are looking for a meal to feed a family and keep them full. Then stew it is! Our stew meat comes in 1lb packages and already cubed and ready to go. Don't have a recipe? Here's the one that my mom made for us at home.
Good Brown Stew from the Queen's Book. Recipe from Mrs. Karl Byarski and Mrs. Don Niedzielski
2lbs Boneless Beef Stew Meat
2 C. hot water 1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice 2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 1/2 tsp black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced Pinch of allspice
1 medium onion, minced 6 carrots, halved
2 small bay leaves 3 potatoes, quartered
Brown meat thoroughly on all sides in hot fat in pressure cooker. Add all ingredients except vegetables. Cook at 10lbs pressure for 30mins. Open cooker and add vegetables. Continue cooking for 10mins at 10lbs pressure . Remove meat and vegetables. Thicken liquid. Serves 6.
Non-pressure cooker method:
Cook in large pot. Increase water to 4 cups and cook meat 2hrs. Add vegetables and continue cooking for 30mins.
Add 1pkg frozen peas and carrots and 1 small can of mushrooms, drained.
We always like to serve stew on freshly baked biscuits (quick and easy recipe on the back of the Bisquick box!) or with some fresh bread.
Beef Soup Bones (Aka Beef Shanks)
So it does occur to me that what these come labeled as aren't quite what you would picture. In reality our "soup bones" are a cross cut beef shank or cross section of the lower leg. Lots of meat and a round marrow bone in the middle. These are great for beef soup! I really tapped my mom for recipes for things like this. We had 6 in our family, not much went to waste and my mom is a wonderful cook. (Thanks Mom!)
And last but not least, smoked ham hocks!
What to do with a ham hock. Number one, what is it? The hock is the lower leg portion that is cut off the ham (hence ham hock). Its smoked and tastes just like ham. It also can be a fattier cut of meat and adds lots of flavor to things like soup!
So here's another cold weather, hearty meal coming at you!
Sidenote, do you know that Michigan ranks second in the nation for production on dry beans?! Most are grown in Michigan's thumb area. Huron County (where my mom hails from!) is one of the top dry bean producing counties in the nation.
Michigan Navy Bean Soup
2 cups dried navy beans
1cup chopped onion
2 cups chopped/peeled potatoes
1/2 cup shredded carrot
2 ham hocks (or more if desired)
1 tbs ketchup
2 1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
Soak beans in water to cover in saucepan overnight. Bring to boil with ham hocks. Cook over medium heat for 2hrs. Remove ham hocks and chop cooked ham and return to pot. Add 5 cups water and remaining ingredients. Return to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 1.5hrs.