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Meat:

Everything You Need To Know

I live in a house of carnivores.  When this cookbook arrived their eyes gleamed like a pack of wolves catching the scent of baby deer.  Meat doesn’t get my juices flowing in the same way.  But this book was interesting and a great resource for anyone who likes to cook and eat meat.  

Pat LaFrieda is a fourth generation butcher, located in New York City.  He is assisted by food writer Carolynn Carreno.  The strength of this book is the information about different cuts of meat and how to use them. Pictures and step by step guidance is provided throughout.  Although heavy in self-promotion (which should be ignored), what comes through is that the LaFriedas understand the importance of how animals are raised and treated.    

Recipes are a mix of family favourites and New York restaurant recipes and each one comes with a story.  Grandma LaFrieda’s Braised Stuffed Veal Breast with Utica Greens is an example of how to tenderize a tough cut of meat through long slow cooking and the recipe demonstrates how to stuff the veal breast.  The Utica Greens are a salty-bitter-sour-spicy stuffing of escarole, pickled hot peppers, prosciutto and Parmesan.  This is old school Italian cooking and there are a number of similar recipes.  At the same time, there are recipes with French, Mexican and Asian influences, such as Plum and Sesame Glazed Lamb Denver Ribs, Chipotle-Braised Tomahawk Short Ribs and Tuscan Fried Chicken with Lemon.  

The recipes are pretty flexible and worked well.  I generally take the phrase “Don’t ask how the sausage is made” quite literally.  But I liked the idea of the Chicken Apple Sausage and this is a good example of how to use the cookbook.  The recipe suggests that you use a meat grinder and a sausage stuffer.  I did neither.  I purchased ground chicken and shaped the sausages into small patties, which I cooked on the griddle.  The sausage was seasoned with fresh ground fennel and sage, sweet apples and savoury onions.  The patties worked for Sunday morning breakfast.  Next time I would sauté the onions and apple first, and reduce the sugar.       

We also tried Standing Rib Roast with Dried Porcini Rub and Port Wine Reduction.  Standing rib roast is a Bussin tradition, so there was pressure.  And it was my mother-in-law’s birthday.  We made a smaller roast and the porcini rub added great flavour to the tender beef.  The wine and demi-glace melded into a rich umami sauce. A worthy special occasion dish.   

Recommended?  Loved the pictures and guidance on techniques.  Worth getting if you are a meat lover, and interested in learning about cooking it.