Long Way on a Little, Shannon Hayes 4th book, is for meat lovers. It convincingly argues that we can lower our food costs and still pay farmers fairly by reducing waste and using all of the animal. The book is full of recipes for cooking pastured poultry and pork, and grass fed beef and lamb. But Long Way on a Little is more than a cookbook. Hayes, in an interesting and concise manner, discusses the role that grazing animals have in maintaining both our health and that of the earth. She teaches us “how to make each animal fully count”.
In the chapter on bones and fat, she persuades us that one of the most economical portions of the animal can also provide much nourishment. What a serious waste of up to a third of the animal when the bones and fat are tossed. Also included are non-food ideas for using the fat such as soap and candle making.
As Hayes explained the farmers role in grass fed food production, I could hear my farmer’s voice saying much the same thing – keep the animals happy and keep them growing to keep them tender. She also discusses the processor’s role and the cook’s role in putting flavorful meat on the table. I found the information on the various cuts of beef and general methods for cooking them very helpful; her method of explanation is also quite amusing! And many of the recipes also include tips for using leftovers, helping us to be frugal cooks.
The last chapter, Under Appreciated Treasures, was the most difficult for the author to write and will likely be the most difficult for the reader to implement. I just have to quote her here, so that you can get a taste of Hayes wonderful writing style:
Organ meats, heads, feet and other such odious cuts were an over-glorified salvation effort – the affected cuisine of die-hard nutritional fanatics, stoic old-world hausfraus or pretentious epicureans. According to my own eco-sensibilites, if a person chose to forsake the organ meats, but made full use of the bones and fat of the beasts that gave their lives for our well-being, well, that was ample thrift to earn the omnivore’s atonement.
Health problems convinced her to give offal a second look. And she, and her family, discovered that they like organ meat. I’m with her in theory; it’s been a while since I cooked even liver, but…. gulp, I’m committed to giving it another try with Shannon’s help.
The first recipe I’ve tried from the cookbook is Stuffed Chard with Lemon Cream Sauce. I chose this because I have Swiss chard in the garden and I just purchased a cabbage from a local farm. It was a goooood choice.
Stuffed Chard with Lemon Cream Sauce
- 10 – 12 large Swiss chard leaves, stems removed
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 pound ground beef, veal, pork or lamb (I used beef)
- 2 cups finely shredded cabbage
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 cups meat broth
- 1 cup sour cream or heavy cream (I used heavy cream because I had it on hand)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Remove the stems from the greens and discard (I hope you’ll compost them). Place the leaves in a large heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. After 5 minutes, strain off the water, lay the leaves out on a towel and pat dry.
Combine the egg, ground meat, cabbage, dill, lemon zest, allspice, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix well. Scoop up meat and cabbage mixture by quarter cupfuls, shape into cylinders and set each cylinder at the stem end of each leaf. Roll up, tucking the sides as you go to form a bundle.
Heat a large, nonreactive skillet over a medium flame. Add the butter and swirl to coat. Place the stuffed greens in the skillet seam-side down. Whisk the crushed garlic into the broth, then pour it into the skillet. Bring the broth to a light simmer, reduce heat, cover, and cook 30 minutes.
Remove the greens to a serving platter using a slotted spoon. Increase the heat in the skillet and simmer the broth down until it is reduced by two-thirds. Whisk in the sour cream, then the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over the stuffed greens and serve. Recipe reprinted with Shannon Hayes permission.
I did thicken the sauce with a small amount of arrowroot since it was a bit thin. Mike and I both loved it, although Mike said he might like it even more without the lemon.
Have you read Long Way on a Little? What did you think?
Shared at: Wednesday Fresh Foods, Wildcrafting Wednesday, EOA, Whole Foods Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Keep it Real, Rural Thursday, Eat Make Grow, Freaky Friday, Fight Back Friday, Fill Those Jars Friday, Weekend Whatever, Small Footprint Friday, Butter Believer, Homestead Barn Hop, Fat Tuesday, Teach Me Tuesday, Living Green