Friday, June 15, 2018

Lamb Börek + A Variety Box from Corral De Tierra Cattle Company #Sponsored

 This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Corral De Tierra Cattle Company.
I received complimentary product for the purpose of review and recipe development,
but all opinions are honest and they are my own. This page may contain affiliate links.

In the Fall of 2016, I was on assignment for Edible Monterey Bay and attended the Outstanding in the Field (OITF) event hosted at Big Sur Land Trust (BSLT)'s Glen Deven Ranch. You can read the article that appeared in the Spring 2017 magazine: EDIBLE ICONS: Big Sur Bliss.

Chef Brett Cooper cooking Corral De Tierra beef grazed and site at Glen Deven Ranch

Corral De Tierra Cattle Company
But all of that was just to set the stage for me getting an email - earlier this month - from Mark Farr, the rancher behind Corral De Tierra Cattle Company. I had interviewed him in 2016 because he had provided the meat for the OITF event with cattle that had grazed on the land at Glen Deven. Back then, he shared that his relationship with the BSLT was mutually beneficial for the animals and the environment: “Fog produces a good quality grass, and grazing animals create vivacious ecosystems and reduce fire fuel.” And his relationship with BLST persists. Go to Corral De Tierra Cattle Co's website to read about Mark's philosophies on grass finished beef, cattle management, regenerative agriculture, and more.

I love thoughtful food purveyors and Mark definitely qualifies. His customer service, too, is off the charts.


Meat to Your Doorstep
So, fast forward eighteen months, and Farr contacted me to say that he had been planning a local grass fed meat delivery program. He asked if I would be willing to enjoy and perhaps write about my experience. Yes, yes, yes!

Their Buyer's Club kicked off this month and gets you monthly deliveries of a 10-pound variety box. You can purchase the boxes monthly - they are $100 for 10-pounds and $200 for 20-pounds - or pay for the year upfront and get all 12 months for $1000. I heard buzzings that they might have a 6-month payment plan. I'll confirm when I hear more.

A few emails later, I had a 10-pound lamb and beef variety box on my front step. I received fresh beef Swiss sausage, boneless rib-eye, filet mignon, ground sheep (I am calling that lamb, but maybe I need to do some research as to whether that's a different designation...maybe age?!?), beef jerky, beef broth, beef stew meat, beef chuck-eye, and more. What a selection and, yes, what a variety! I was thrilled.


Tasting Our Way Through
Given the short turn-around between me receiving my box and me posting my thoughts before Fathers' Day - also known as the day that more grills in America are going with meals for those men in our lives than probably any other day of the year - I got cooking quickly.


I brought the beef Swiss sausages to an end-of-the-schoolyear barbeque at our friends' house. And all of us were impressed, though both of the men didn't believe it was really beef. They bantered back and forth that it tasted like wild boar or maybe venison. I said, "Read the package! It's beef." But, I suspect that what they were getting at was that these beef sausages had so much flavor that they might have been wild game.

On another evening, Jake and I grilled the filet mignon and friends took the boneless rib-eye. As agreed, we both seasoned it only with salt, pepper, and olive oil to make sure we could comment on the beef itself and not an overpowering spice rub. Our comments were almost identical: nice marbling, great flavor, nice texture/easy to cut. The only complaint was that there was some gristle on the rib-eye that could have been trimmed off. Otherwise, my friends were happy. And this is a friend whose dinner motto is "no meat, no meal."


I used the beef broth as the liquid when I braised a locally-grown rabbit and I sneaked a spoonful before I poured it all in. It was delicious and would be a great base for any soup or stew!


The beef jerky made it into the snack bags when my three boys went kayaking this week. But I had to work, so I missed the adventure and the beef jerky. Not fair! They loved the flavor and asked why I only packed two pieces when there were three of them. Ummm...I packed all that I had.

So, we've made it through quite a bit of the ten pounds. I am saving the beef stew meat for a fundraising dinner that Nonna is hosting. R requested ricotta gnocchi with beef ragu. You'll see that meat in the recipe soon. And I need to read more about the chuck-eye steak. That's not a cut with which I'm familiar. Stay tuned.

Lamb Börek
But, for this post, I decided to share a recipe for Lamb Börek that I made with Mark's ground sheep. Again, I am not sure how ground sheep differs from ground lamb - or if it differs at all - but this was a huge hit with my family. Börek appears all over Eastern Europe and Western Asia; it's essentially a baked, stuffed pastry. Some versions are just cheese, some are just meat. I used both.


Please note that this isn't a traditional börek. I've added some California flair in the shape of fresh fennel, other fresh herbs, and fennel pollen. I also folded in some barberries to the filling because I love their tangy bite. You can substitute dried cranberries if you can't find barberries.


Ingredients serves 4
  • 1 pound ground sheep or lamb
  • 1 organic white onion, peeled and thinly sliced (approximately 2 C)
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced (approximately 2 C)
  • 1 T oil
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1/4 C fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 t fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/2 C crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 C dried barberries (substitute dried cranberries if you can't find barberries)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 pieces phyllo dough cut in half lengthwise to make 24 sheets approximately 8" x 12"
  • melted butter for rolling



Procedure
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

In a large skillet, heat the oil and add in the onion and fennel. Cook until the onion is softened and beginning to turn translucent. Crumble in the ground meat, season with cumin, and cook until browned through. Fold in the herbs, then, turn the meat mixture into a colander and drain out the fat; you want the meat as dry as possible for the börek or the dough will get soggy.

Stir in the feta cheese and barberries. Season to taste with salt and pepper, as needed.

While you're working with the phyllo, keep them covered with a damp kitchen towel as they dry out very quickly.


Place three sheets of phyllo on a flat surface. Spoon about 1/2 C of the lamb mixture on the short side of the rectangle in a strip that's about 2" wide. Brush the edges of the phyllo with melted butter, then fold in the edges and roll as tightly as you can without breaking the dough. Place the börek on a lightly buttered baking sheet.


 Brush lightly with melted butter and repeat until the tray is full or the filling gone.


Once all the rolls are ready, place the tray in the preheated oven. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes. The phyllo should be golden brown and crisp.


Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce.


These were a hit. And while we ate, we talked about the benefits of subscribing to the Corral De Tierra Cattle Company variety boxes. Here's what we came up with...

The rancher receives payment for year, which helps with the cash flow and give him an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the meat he produces. We get monthly deliveries of fresh meat, with all the flavor and environmental benefits of animals managed properly; we get exposed to new cuts of meat; and we might get to see his herd or, at least, know the land on which they graze so our kids recognize that the beef or lamb they are eating was an animal raised locally...and doesn't just magically appear - in cellophane - in the grocery store!


I love the adventure of finding delectable ways to cook something I've never seen before. What might stress out some home-chefs, piques my curiosity and gives me a reason to look for new recipes. So, I'll be doing research on how to cook that chuck-eye steak...and looking for a way to fit the initial outlay of $1000 into my food budget because I really want in on Mark's Buyer's Club.


You may find Corral De Tierra Cattle Company on the web and on Facebook.


*Disclosure: I received product for free from the sponsor for recipe development, however, I have received no additional compensation for my post. My opinion is 100% my own and 100% accurate.

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