Fast food restaurants capitalize on the notion that cooking at home is both difficult and expensive. They lure customers with the promise of a quick and convenient meal, but as our booming healthcare crisis and waistlines reveal, this is a lie of the highest order. Lambasting the evil fast food companies is easy and admittedly, it feels good to place the blame for our woes on someone or something, but at some point, we also have to take responsibility for ourselves.
Good food, food that nourishes your body, excites your taste buds, and respects the life (animal or vegetable) that was sacrificed, doesn't have to be complicated. By planning ahead and having a handful of easy recipes up your sleeve, you can feed yourself and your family well. In the long run, you will save time and money too.
(Check out this comic on TheOatmeal.com to see an example of how bad planning and good intentions can go horribly wrong.)
To prove this point, I set out to create a recipe that is basically fool-proof, delicious, and nutritious. This is something that you can literally "set and forget" until it's time to eat. Of course, it requires a certain comfort with handling large chunks of meat, bloody marrow filled bones, and a willingness to have "garlic hands", but that's about it.
So without further ado, I would like to present "Bones and Beef".
3lb Beef Chuck Shoulder Roast (At my local Whole Foods, I found this cut, grass-fed mind you, for $3.99/lb)
Bacon fat (just save this every time you make bacon, which should be all the time)
10 cloves garlic (Give them a good smash with the flat part of your kitchen knife to make peeling easier)
Random herbs/spices (literally, whatever you feel like/have in your pantry. I used dried rosemary, parsley, thyme, sea salt and black pepper)
1lb marrow bones (Again, these were from grass-fed cows and cost only 2.99/lb)
2 cups stock (this should be the good "meat jelly" kind)
Coat your beef in a good bit of bacon fat. In a hot saute pan, sear the meat on all sides (about a minute or so per side) and then put it in your crock pot. Put the marrow bones, garlic, and herbs into the pot as well. Add the stock and then fill the pot with water just shy of submerging the meat.
Cook on the "low" setting for at least 8 hours. You could definitely go longer though (I think I left mine going for nearly twice that time) so no need to stress. This is something you could start before work and have ready by the time you get home.
When the meat is done, it should pull apart easily. Shred it up a bit and make sure to really soak it in the cooking juices. Don't forget to get all the marrow out of the bones and eat that too.
If you have leftovers, you can just pull the bones out, and pour the meat and juice into a bowl. The fat will solidify and "seal" the top of the dish better than any tupperware. I ate this cold for a couple days after making this recipe and it was freaking delicious.
For those of you who desire some starch to go with your meat, some roasted potatoes would make a nice compliment to this dish.
|A little smash with the knife let's the garlic know you mean business.|
|A nice chunk of grass-fed cow.|
|$2.99? You've got to be out of your mind to not buy some!|
|Bacon fatted and browned.|
|Make sure to sear on all sides.|
|Toss everything in the pot together.|
|This is what it looked like at around the 8 hour mark. I ended up going to a local CrossFit gym after this and so it cooked for a few hours more before I finally pulled it out.|
|The meat shredded easily with just a pair of tongs.|
|I poured all the leftovers (minus the bone fragments) into a bowl.|
|After a few hours in the fridge, the fat solidified and sealed the top. Underneath was an unctuous blend of meat, spices, and tasty meat jello (ie. the good kind of bone broth).|