Hello everyone! What a time to be alive indeed.
Crazy times are upon us. The business world and schools are all online, relying on virtual communication and people are only allowed to flock outside for emergency groceries. During the day, delivery trucks and bikes are seen everywhere delivering what people are too lazy or unable to get on their grocery runs.
As a small family run business, the closure of our location, the Meat Market at Mushrif Mall was transformative to us as an operation, showing us that we can do so much more than we think. Last week we were able to do 40 deliveries in a day! Unfortunately I also found out that more than 20 deliveries a day was unrealistic given that our team is basically a group of frontliners and can't be overperforming if we want to keep ourselves strong enough to fight off this situation. So we did what we had to do to keep our customers served but at the same time, take care of ourselves- alternate schedules with deliveries capped at 15 a day to ensure we can deliver all at the La Carne level.
Anyway. Back to the topic. What to cook these days?!
We have seen an incredible surge in slow cook cuts as well as secondary cuts like flank steak- but we want to see more exploration!
1. Slow cook some short ribs or brisket
Photo by The Kitchn
Slow cooking cuts with lots of collagen and connective tissue like short ribs and brisket is incredibly satisfying because you put in some work in the beginning, but then put your feet up basically for the next 3 hours and unwrap a beautiful treasure of meat glory. I myself just slow cooked a combo of short ribs and wagyu brisket the other day in some red wine, tomato paste, broth and garlic, and boy was it life changing. The layers of flavor are just phenomenal. Also, if you make a good amount you can freeze half and then simply reheat on a rainy day! Here's the deliciously easy recipe I tried by Gordon Ramsay. Remember that you are the master of your food, so if you need to make substitutes or adapt equipment/ingredients according to what you have access to, you absolutely CAN! Enjoy the process...
2. Make a batch of 3-hour ragu
Photo by Eataly
Did you know that in Bologna, Italy, there is actually no Bolognese sauce? I got obsessed with this fact when I was just 20, about to finish university. I had just read this Saveur Magazine article about ragu and the awesome knowledge that every Italian household basically has its own version of ragu sauce! In a nutshell, most if not all ragus entail slowcooking meat with some form of tomato for 3 hours. The end product? A very concentrated meat sauce, so beautiful and flavor-packed that one needs only a tablespoonful on a base of egg tagliatelle to inhale a full serving. It's amazing, and you should try it. Freeze them in ziplock bags and have amazing spaghetti sauce ready whenever you need! Goes great in lasagna too. Here's my fave recipe by Mario Batali which I've been cooking since I was a kid. I just use all beef with some added pancetta if I have some lying around.
3. Secondary is the new primary
Photo by Mr. Food
I keep going on about this, and will probably keep going on about it. There is WAY more value for money in secondary cuts than primary cuts!
What do I mean by primary? It's those very few cuts found on cattle- Ribeye, Striploin & Tenderloin
What do I mean by secondary? Everything else! We don't have to go all the way into offals/innards but we're mainly talking about cuts like Skirt Steak, Picanha, Flank, Tri-tip, Chuck, Shank, Short Ribs, Beef Back Ribs, Hanger Steak, Flap Meat (Bavette), Beef Cheeks and even Lamb Leg and Shoulder for Lamb cuts.
Be it cooking for a group of people, your family or just yourself, you wallet will surely reap the rewards when getting these awesome secondary cuts. Not sure how to cook them? Take a few mins to search them on youtube and be amazed at how easy and how big a yield they can each make for you.
4. Experiment with burgers, maybe not as burgers
Photo by Delish
So we make our burgers ready in patties for the grill, which is already amazing and all, but why not explore different planes of burgers such as meatballs, smash burgers and stuffing them too? We recommend 100g meatballs to make them into smash burgers. Make sure you have a heavy duty steel spatula to squish them flat and crispy!
5. Make your own rubs and sauces from scratch.
Photo by Claire Cohen, The Spruce Eats
Make use of extra jars and those spices in your pantry to do a little DIY awesomeness in the kitchen. Get family and/or roommates involved too! Making your own rubs and sauces makes a world of a difference, and you know for SURE there are no E-products, preservatives or weird stuff in them. Just ensure you check how to store them correctly! Here are a few rubs you can try!
That's all from me for now, wishing you guys health, safety and great food! Happy to discuss in comments here, or whatsapp us at 058-500-6328 for suggestions/questions.
Culinary Business Manager at La Carne