Beef it up

If you’ve been following my blog, you probably remember that a little while back I decided to splurge on some grass-fed, grass-finished beef. In my last post I talked about my experiments with creating bone broth (it was trendy a little while ago and many people still tout the benefits so I had to see what all the fuss was about). I’m still enjoying sipping on the broth several days a week, and even started the 21-day Bone Broth Diet.

I did, of course, order a lot more than bones from Templeton Hills Beef — here are three of the beef dishes I recently made, along with my wine pairings.

My hands down winter comfort food is Beef Bourguignon. I follow the technique outlined by Julia Child in “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”; however, I have a few twists that I think make it a healthier dish. I don’t use butter or bacon (sorry guys) and I include a lot more vegetables, including turnips, extra carrots, parsnips and baby-bella mushrooms. My recipe was included in my first “eat this with…Paso Robles Wine” recipe book.

This isn’t a quick and easy dinner for sure. You have to put some time into this one. Don’t fall for the trap of going with a package of pre-cut, cheap stewing beef that you will find sitting in the meat section of the grocery store. Get a grass-fed beef roast and cut it in cubes at least 2 inches in size. I tend to go with a chuck roast which will be very tender after cooking in wine and broth for an extended period of time. Seems to have the perfect level of fat for this dish.

This is a meal that screams for wine. I tend to typically go with a cabernet sauvignon since it really does need a hardy red. For this particular dinner, I decided instead to pull the cork on a Bushong Vintage Company 2016 Ananda Pinot Noir. The grapes are grown in San Simeon on a vineyard that is typically highly stressed. The result is a very intense pinot noir and it was a lovely pairing.

Comfort food aside, if you ask me what is my favorite beef dish, I’ll be torn between a standing rib roast and filet mignon. With just one dinner guest on the list, I opted for the filet mignon. Served with a chimmicuri sauce and sauteed vegetables with cauliflower “rice”, this was a healthy yet extremely delicious meal.

I tend to like my meat on the rare side (I’ll go medium rare when I have guests), and certainly with a prime cut of meat like a filet mignon, there was no way I was going to over cook the beautiful steaks. Sous Vide was the way to go. I simply added some olive oil, salt, pepper and a little thyme with the steaks in individual bags, then vacuum sealed and cooked in 130F circulating water for one hour. A quick sear in pan with very hot olive oil to finish and the result was a melt in your mouth steak.

After spending a month in Argentina and enjoying several amazing steak dinners with Malbec, I find myself gravitating to this varietal whenever I can. With the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition recently awarding Graveyard Vineyard’s 2016 Malbec a best of class, I was very happy to find I had a bottle in my cellar.

This wine certainly did not disappoint, and at $36 a bottle, this may just be my new “steak night” wine.

One of the less expensive packages in my box was grass-fed ground beef. There are so many dishes that can be made from ground beef (including a good old fashion beef patty). I was in the mood to experiment with some low-carb versions of classic dishes, so I decided to give cabbage rolls without rice a try. I found a recipe on-line that looked good, and with a few minor tweaks (I can’t seem to follow someone else’s recipe to the T) I found this to be a great use of ground beef. Served with roasted broccoli and carrots, this was another guilt free meal.

I made this dish for a working lunch, and don’t be shocked, but I didn’t actually serve wine. These cabbage rolls would be wonderful with either a white (off dry with high acidity) or red wine (I’d go on the light to medium-bodied and fairly fruity if selecting a red).

And there you have it – I’m working my way through my beef box and enjoying every bite so far.

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