So, my dad bought half a cow.
You see, he has a second home in Oregon. His neighbors offered to go in halfsies on a whole cow, so now he has a freezer full of hundreds of pounds of premium organic grassfed beef.
Normally I laugh at his weird and extravagant purchases (I once thought he had bought a mummy when a gigantic Indiana Jones-esque wooden crate was delivered to his office), but this is one that I can really get behind. Why? Because he brought a bunch of it home and gave me some. It's a veritable meat bonanza! He gave us some chuck roast, sirloin tips, freshly-made pepperoni, and several pounds of ground beef.
It's like the reverse of this...
Ricky would be totally jealous.
So, Jason and I decided that we must cook and consume all this meat in an expedient manner. Over the last few weeks, we've been having lots of beef cooking parties for two. (That sounds like an innuendo, but I'm not entirely sure for what.)
Beef Party #1: Burgers
What better way to kick of the beeftivities than good, old-fashioned burgers? After defrosting for a few hours, the beef looked like this...
Look at all that fat! This is no lame, weak Supermarket beef for pussies and/or the health conscious. We shaped it into two big patties.
Jason cooked them up in a skillet with some Kerrygold Butter. I prepared some USA SAUCE, which I just named that because of how All-American the ingredients are...
We put the burgers on Kaiser rolls and slapped on some pickles and cheddar cheese. I didn't give myself the time to take a pretty picture because it needed to GET IN MY MOUTH while it was still the proper temperature. So, you only get a half-assed ugly picture, sorry.
Does that bun look stale? Because it was stale as hell! This was particularly frustrating since we bought it at Ralph's just an hour before, and they supposedly bake them fresh every day. I felt ashamed to besmirch this dead cow's good name by serving him on stale rolls. So, I took the top roll off and ate it open-faced. The meat, which I ate on the rarer side of medium rare, was great. It was fresh and flavorful. Grassfed beef is often described as more "chewy", but I thought that it had a pleasant silky texture.
Beef Party #2: Sirloin Tips and Mushrooms
We know less about how to properly cook sirloin tip, so we went looking for recipes online. This beef party was going down on a weeknight, so we wanted to find a recipe that could be made quickly. This recipe was highly-rated on AllRecipes.com, so we decided to give it a try. This is what the beef looked like after defrosting...
We cut it into cubes for the sake of this recipe, and Jason browned them in a skillet with some garlic and some A L'Olivier oil that I recently brought back from France.
We then added mushrooms, tomato sauce, and red wine and let it simmer for awhile.
After following the recommended cooking time, the sauce was too thin and the beef was all dried out. It looked like this poured over egg noodles...
The thin sauce slid right off the noodles, forming a pool in the bottom of the bowl. The red wine and mushroom combination was a nice one, but would have been so much better if the beef wasn't dry and unpleasant. It would probably have turned out better if we used a slow cooker.
We really did this poor cow wrong on this one.
Verdict: Noooooooo. We're so sorry, cow!
Beef Party #3: Stroganoff
After the failed sirloin tips attempt, we wanted to have something familiar and difficult to mess up. We couldn't disappoint the cow again. So, we thawed out another tube of ground beef and mashed it up with paprika, salt, pepper, and flour.
I thought that it looked a bit like a Botero statue (or my body after eating all this meat, heyoooooo).
But I digress. We browned the meat in a skillet with butter and onions.
And then slowly added the other ingredients, sour cream last.
We did not have any consistency problems with this sauce like we did with the sirloin tips' sauce. Once it was ready to serve, it was the perfect sloppy consistency for pouring over egg noodles.
This was excellent Stroganoff. I usually regard the beef in Stroganoff as sort of an afterthought, something that is there to bring more flavor to the sauce. That wasn't the case here. The fatty, pastoral beef was the big star. Since it was so rich, I filled up on one bowl. However, I was eating it cold out of the fridge within a few hours.
Verdict: Redemption. This was delicious.
Beef Party #4: Ropa Vieja
Next, we decided to take on the big boy, a gigantic bone-in chuck roast. After defrosting, it looked like this (penny for scale)...
We browned the meal in oil, added onions, red wine, salsa, and spices, and then threw that sucker in the oven. It only needed about 2.5 hours of cooking time until it was tender and almost falling off the bone. When it came out, we shredded it easily with two forks.
We served it on top of Spanish rice, with avocado slices and sour cream on the side.
Although it may not look like much, this tasted INCREDIBLE. The meat was so tender and juicy and full of flavor. We ate in silence that was only punctuated by the ungodly noises of delight we were emitting.
Verdict: YESSSSS. More like Ropa Viej-hellz yeah!
With that, our meat odyssey must come to an end. What did we learn?
1.) Organic Grassfed beef reigns supreme.
2.) Ropa Vieja > Stroganoff > Burgers > Some Wack-Ass Stew You Found on AllRecipes.
3.) Ain't no party like a beef party 'cause a beef party has beef!