Sunday, 6 September 2009

a little lesson about meat

Day 6, Recipe 7

Some friends demanded a steak dinner and of course, I agreed. I picked up my ‘ My Guide to Making You a Better Cook’ book and Pan-fried sirloin steak with simple Chianti butter sauce and olive oil mash sounds just perfect for Sunday evening with friends.

I love meat. Some of my favourite animals are definitely steak and pork chops. But up until last week, I was one of those people who have never thought or wanted to know or ever questioned where their meat comes from, how it’s fed, looked after, slaughtered or butchered. ‘Why would I want to know in the first place anyway?’

What I enjoy the most about this ‘project’ is it’s like learning to shop, cook and eat all over again. In the book, Jamie begins each chapter with a little lesson on how to choose the ingredients, how to prepare and cook them, and then the many selections of recipes.

In the Meat chapter, Jamie starts with: It's amazing how specific the public are about what they want in return for their hard-earned cash... As a nation, we've forgotten that it's completely normal and healthy to be picky about what meat we buy. You wouldn't be happy with any old beer in the pub, your kids wouldn't be happy with any old trainers, so why should you settle for any old meat that you're going to put in your and your family's mouth?

I used to think that meats from the supermarket are all just the same; and I never really care if they are organic, free-range, etc. All I care was if they’re reasonably priced. Meat is just meat, right? But I was wrong. These extra qualities make all the difference to the quality of your meal. When I started the project I bought my first organic, once-had-a-good-life chicken, to make roasted chicken breast with cherry tomatoes and asparagus; and honestly, I didn’t think it would be as delicious and as moist if I were to have made it with supermarket ‘standard’ chicken.

I have tasted top-quality meat and I really don’t want to go back to the ‘standard’ quality meat. Yes, these organic and free-range meats are not cheap; everything comes with a price, but when you understand what goes into producing meat you soon realise that organic meat isn’t overpriced. I must be honest, I also have rent and bills to pay; and I can’t afford to eat top-quality meat every day. I guess the strategy is to have them in moderation.

Back to tonight's dinner. I agree with Jamie; this simple way of cooking and serving steak is so rewarding (of course, the top-quality meat makes all the difference). All you need is a little sauce on top of the meat and mash. Chianti butter sauce isn't complicated at all to make. Once you cooked the steaks to your liking (I like my steak medium-rare), turn the heat down and add a knob of butter. Fry some shallots or red onions with thyme for four minutes, then add a glass of Chianti wine and reduce by half. Pour in the resting juices from the meat, and add a little more butter and take the pan off the heat. Season to taste and drizzle over the steak and mash. Yum!

I had a great night. However, I need to stop eating so late. I normally don't eat after 7pm, but tonight, we didn't finish eating until around 9. I cannot wait for the University gym to be opened again.

One last thing, Happy 20th Birthday Sis. I love you. x

Good night.

No comments:

Post a Comment