Bob’s Low and Slow One Pot Farm Dinner

OK let’s face it:  Our home grown meats, be they beef pork chicken or whatever are not going to be the same as that sold in your local grocery store.  Maybe not better or worse but different.  Believe me what an animal eats affects the taste of the meat and grass fed is different from grain fed.  It may take a little adjusting on our part not just in the taste area but also in the way we cook.  Leaner is better for us but it is or can be drier and less flavorful if cooked the same as a piece of the same cut of meat that was raised on a diet of high grain concentration.  A little change in the preparation can make a lot of change in our enjoyment of a meal.  For me at least the meat makes the meal.

I do not consider myself a chef by any stretch. I don’t even think of myself as a cook although I do cook and enjoy it when I have the time. And judging from the comments, or lack of during the meal, the food must be good. Time is one of the things I like about this way of cooking. I have a granddaughter, Emmy, that has accused me of being ADD. Now I don’t believe it is that bad but I do have a problem just waiting on that pot to boil. With this; once started, with the lid on and seal in place, I can go on about my business for the amount of time I think the dish needs.

As I promised in my earlier post; http://hobbyfarmlife.com/grass-fed-beef-steak-recipe/ , here is my personal version of a alternate way to prepare some of the less tender or just leaner cuts of meats. It doesn’t have to be any one variety or cut of meat. Any meat, any cut. Quite simply a low temp way of preparing it over a longer period of time that allows for cooking without the loss of taste and flavor that goes along with the loss of the natural juices in any meat.  Or the need to stay with it the entire time the cooking is going on.

WAIT A MINUTE!!! Seal in place? I like waterless cookware. That is cookware that allows you to cook at very low temperatures over a longer period of time retaining the natural juices of the food being prepared. Hence retaining much of the flavor that is often lost in more traditional methods of cooking. With the waterless pot or pan once the heat has reached a point of steam rising the lid can be put on, the heat reduced very low and a seal of moisture will form around the lid allowing it to act much as a pressure cooker. It does take a little getting used to; to allow ourselves to cook on so little heat but the cookware requires it to work properly. Could it be done in a pressure cooker? I don’t see why not but if you asked that question you are probably much more familiar than I am with a pressure cooker.  How about a crock pot?  Same answer.  They both seem to need more water than I like and the juices end up in the water not the meat. Use your own judgment.

As I said I am not a chef and this recipe is not exact.  Amount of meat and vegetables as well as seasonings will be to your taste and needs. The amount of meat and other foods to be added will determine the cook time to some extent. About an hour and a half is the rule of thumb I find for the meat. Another half hour after the vegetables have been added.

Meat; Your choice and the amount determined by your family needs. We have used beef, pork, chicken and rabbit [both wild and domestic]. I may have slipped squirrel in once but am not sure there. No possum or coon yet. KIDDING here people kidding. BUT: I have eaten both, in the far and distant past, and neither are bad.

Season to your taste. Whatever you like on it use it. Enough flour, self rising, to coat all meat. I season the flour lightly as well.

Just coat the bottom of a pan with oil, of your choice, and lightly brown all sides of all the meat. Remember you are not cooking the meat here just browning the flour. If more than one pan full needs to be browned just put the browned in a plate or even the pan lid while browning the remaining meat.
When all meat is browned Drain off the excess oil retaining all the crunchies in the bottom of the pan. Add a little water. I use about a 1/4 cup cooking say 4 leg quarters or 4 steaks or one rabbit for Pauline and myself. I like 2 meals at once. Cover with a tight lid and let simmer, hopefully with no steam escaping for 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on the amount of meat and means of cooking. Stove top or oven times will be the same. Leave it alone and go on about your business for at least an hour.

While the meat is slow cooking (if you didn’t do it beforehand) slice onions, peppers, potatoes, carrots, celery, green onions, whatever you like and have on hand and want to put with it. Remember potatoes and carrots take a little longer to cook so slice those thinner than you usually do and put them in the pot first when it is time.

When the meat is almost done, just starting to pull apart with a fork, remove the meat and put the vegetables in, seasoning as needed. Add the slower cooking items first. Return the meat on top, cover again and return to heat for about a half hour. Longer if it is a large amount, less if smaller. Check it if you need to but remember each time you remove that lid steam escapes which means loss of moisture.

I doubt this is your first time at the stove so I figure you know how to judge and adjust these things. If you want a gravy when it is finished cooking remove the meat and vegetables, placing in a container that will keep warm and make your gravy as you normally would with the drippings in the bottom of the pan.

Serve with whatever you have prepared to go with it but depending on the veggies in the pot it can make an excellent one pot meal right by itself. Of course a biscuit to sop the drippings is always welcome.

When you cook this let me know what you think. It is hard to improve on perfection but after you have made it my way a time or two feel free to try. Hey maybe this should be called green cooking. It does save energy and water.

Bob

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