Tougher cuts of meat can be very budget friendly. Preparing the meat in a manner that makes those tough cuts tender and delicious is important. If your tough cut is a steak a great method is to pound the meat and do something like this tasty chicken fry. If your tough cut is chunks or pieces then it begs to be stewed. One of my favorite stewing methods is a basic crock pot formula that I share in my eBook Design a Dish. The dishes I’m sharing today also use the crock pot to prepare the meat. I find that the slow cook nature of the crock pot really lends itself to creating a tender end product from these tough meats. Feel free to use your oven or stove top if you prefer to stew in that manner.
Last winter our neighbor gave us several packages of goat meat. I had attempted to make a dish with it last spring but it turned out rather tough. I decided to give it a try again. This time I cooked the meat in the crock pot all day. Half went into a stew that night and a few days later the other half became a curry. The broth from the stewed meat was used divided up to use in the stew and also to cook a batch of beans with about a cup reserved for the curry.
I started with somewhere around 2 pounds of meat. The stew was, for the most part, concocted while I was standing at the stove. I did take a look at this post from Wardee at GNOWFGLINS to see the spices that she uses in her goat stew. And I knew that I’d be using the stems from a couple of beautiful bunches of Swiss chard that I had picked up at Natural Grocers the previous day (I saved the greens for a future meal). For the curry, I used this recipe as a guide.
While these dishes were made using goat meat, you could certainly use venison, antelope, elk, lamb or beef. Meals like this are wonderful since they are so adaptable. Speaking of adaptable, feel free to mix up the vegetables to accommodate what you have on hand. Substitute celery for the Swiss chard stems, add extra veggies or whatever. And the wine could also be totally optional.
Note: Even though the photos below show two very similar looking dishes, the flavors were very different. We did not at all feel like we were ‘eating the same old thing’ by having these meals in the same week.
Stew the Meat
Put any tough cut of meat in crock pot, fill with water, turn on low and let cook for 8 to 12 hours until the meat is fall apart tender. Divide meat in half for two dishes below. Reserve 2 cups of broth for stew, 1 cup for curry and save remaining for other use.
October 2016 Update: My Instant Pot is my new favorite way to stew meat! I use the meat setting and it’s done in no time.
1 onion, diced
2 tablespoon healthy cooking fat
Stems from 2 bunches of Swiss chard, cut in bite size pieces
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup red wine (or water)
2 cups broth
5 potatoes, peeled and cut in bite sized pieces
1 can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon clove
1-2 teaspoons sea salt (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups stewed meat cut in bite sized pieces
Additional water to bring stew to desired consistency
Cook onion in fat over low heat for about 5 minutes until soft, add chard stems and carrot slices allowing to cut a few more minutes. Pour in wine and turn up heat to allow the alcohol to burn off, let cook a few minutes. Add all remaining ingredients except meat. Let cook over medium heat 30 to 40 minutes until potatoes are soft. Add stewed meat and allow to heat through. Adjust salt as needed to taste.
Stewed Meat Curry
1 onion, diced (I actually only used 1/2 of an onion since that is what I had)
2 tablespoon ghee (or other healthy fat)
5-8 tablespoons curry powder*
1 tablespoon Allspice
1 hot pepper (I think mine was a jalapeno but not sure since they were a gift from someone’s garden)*
1 inch of ginger, peeled and grated
4 or 5 cloves of garlic, minced
1+ cup diced carrots (I used 3 large carrots)
1 can coconut milk
2 small cans tomato sauce
1 tablespoon dried Thyme
1 cup broth (or additional cup water)
2 cups water, divided
5 potatoes (I used red) cut in chunks
2 cups stewed meat cut in bite size pieces
Cook diced onion in ghee for about 5 minutes until soft. Add grated ginger, curry and Allspice. Cook for a minute or two then add carrots, garlic, coconut milk and tomato sauce. I made three slits in the pepper and put it in whole to flavor the dish without adding too much heat. You can do this or chop it up. Add dried Thyme, broth, 1 cup of water and potatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Cook until potatoes are soft. Serve over rice and/or with flatbread.
*Using 5 tablespoons of curry powder and one pepper left whole still resulted in a rather spicy dish. The girls and I loved it. Christopher would only eat the meat and only after I rinsed it off with water. Joe ate one bowl and declared his mouth on fire. If you do not like spicy food, you should use less curry powder and/or consider omitting the hot pepper.
What is your favorite way to prepare tougher cuts of meat?