Sunday, February 22, 2009

Swiss Steak - local style

Locavorious, which is an Ann Arbor based company that has partnered with several small farms in the communities around Ann Arbor, offers frozen produce subscriptions, similar to shares offered by community supported agriculture (CSA) farms. During the peak harvest, they prepare and package local produce at its peak freshness, and preserve it in a community freezer. I got a pound of their frozen tomatoes from my fellow Michigan Lady Food Blogger Rena and promised to create a recipe with them. So yesterday, I made Swiss steak. Swiss steak isn't a native dish from Switzerland, rather, it refers to the way you can tenderize a tough cut of meat by sprinkling it with flour and pounding it with a meat mallet. I didn't physically "swiss" this steak because I had some top sirloin steak from TMZ Farms in my chest freezer and thought it would be tender enough without the added step.

This recipe would be wonderful in a crock pot - cook it on low for 8 hours. It also would be a terrific camping recipe in a cast iron dutch oven. To make it while camping, cut the beef into 2' chunks first and cook with 8 coals on the bottom, 14 on top for about 40 minutes, rotating the lid and pot every 15 minutes or so. Locavorious' tomatoes were from Tantre Farm. The other ingredients could have been locally grown carrots and parsnips which I could have kept in my suburban root cellar. This year, I checked out a great book about root cellaring from the library and was motivated to give it a try. I "put some food by' - a half peck of apples and pears that I bought from a roadside stand in Romeo last fall by putting them on a shelf on an interior wall of my attached garage. It worked beautifully! They stayed fresh and crisp and didn't freeze. Next year, I will preserve root vegetables, probably in a box of sand in my garage, too. My potatoes were from DuRussel potato farm and can be purchased at groceries throughout Michigan.

Swiss Steak

1 lb. frozen whole tomatoes
3 peeled carrots, cut in 2 inch chunks
3 peeled parsnips, cut into 2 inch chunks
3 medium sized potatoes, cut in quarters longitudinally
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 lbs top sirloin seak
1 bottle of your favorite local beer (I used homebrew)
1 1/2 c. vegetable juice (make your own or use V8)
1 t. dried rosemary
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper

Hot cooked noodles

Preheat oven to 300 F.

Put vegetables in the bottom of a 6 qt. dutch oven, and place meat on top. Pour beer and vegetable juice on top, sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper to your personal taste - I recommend a tablespoon of kosher salt and a teaspoon of pepper. Cover and cook in oven for 2.5 hours. Serve beef over hot cooked noodles with vegetables on the side and sauce ladled over the top.

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