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Good Meat: The Complete Guide to Sourcing and Cooking Sustainable Meat

Eating sustainable meat—grass fed meat humanely raised by local farmers—can improve your health; protect our environment; and strengthen our farm communities.

These three simple truths form the heart of Deborah Krasner’s groundbreaking new book, Good Meat: The Complete Guide to Sourcing and Cooking Sustainable Meat (Stewart, Tabori & Chang; September 1, 2010; $40 /US; ISBN 978-1584798637).  In the 400 pages of Good Meat, Deborah Krasner shows concerned consumers how to find, order, and prepare sustainably raised meat, thus making the vital connections among responsible agriculture, delicious food, good health, the environment, and every American dinner table.  Now eating meat doesn’t have to be a guilty pleasure – good meat can be a positive choice for health, the environment, and satisfying eating.

In GoodMeat , Krasner, (a James Beard cookbook award winner), not only provides consumers with delicious recipes for cooking this leaner meat, but also encourages and facilitates direct purchasing from local farmers, because grass-fed and pastured meats are now available in every state of the union.  This is the only book that gives consumers detailed, easy-to-follow directions for ordering whole, half, or quarter animals directly from the farm, enabling individuals (or groups such as meat CSA’s) to affordably purchase good meat in bulk.  Using specially developed photographs and charts, and going part by part, Krasner explains systematically and clearly all the choices for using custom meat order forms called “cut sheets.”  In addition, she provides an extensive list of sources for purchasing sustainable meat in smaller quantities.

About the Author
Deborah Krasner is a James Beard Award winning cookbook writer (The Flavors of Olive Oil [2003]) and food professional living in Vermont. She hosts culinary vacations in Italy and Vermont that have been featured in GQ, Bon Appétit, and the Boston Globe.  A nationally known kitchen designer, she created Marcella Hazan’s current kitchen in Longboat Key, Florida.  Good Meat is her seventh book.

Salt Seared Burger with Red Wine Reduction Sauce
Heating a well-seasoned cast-iron frying pan until hot and then shaking coarse sea salt on the surface is a fun thing to do because the salt starts to pop like popcorn as it heats.  Put the meat in the pan as soon as you hear or see the first pop, and you’ll be guaranteed a great burger that’s seared crisp on the outside and is pink and juicy within. Just be sure to flip it as soon as it does not stick anymore—you don’t want to overcook the meat.  It is easier to scrape up the browned bits and make the wine reduction sauce from a flat-bottomed pan that a ridged one.
SERVES 4
1 pound ground grass-fed beef
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt such as gray Atlantic or Celtic (for pan-searing only)
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup red wine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Bring the meat to room temperature for about 30 minutes.  Blot the surface of the meat dry when you take it out of its package.  Form the meat into 4 burgers, slap-patting them firmly into shape.  Use your thumb to make an indentation on the top center of each one.
Heat a dry, seasoned cast-iron frying pan or grill pan to hot over high heat.  (For safety’s sake, have a big lid ready to smother flames in case of flare-ups.) Pour the salt into the pan, scattering it so that it loosely covers the surface.  As soon as the salt begins to pop, turn on the exhaust fan and add the burgers.  Cook for about 3 minutes per side over highest heat, flipping the burgers as soon as they do not stick and are browned.  When the patties are done, put them on a plate to rest and shower them with black pepper to taste.
Keeping the pot lid within reach in case the wine flames, pour the wine into the hot burger pan over medium heat.  Using a wooden spatula, scrape the browned bits from the surface of the pan into the wine as it bubbles.  Reduce the wine by half, to about ¼ cup, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and swirl in butter to blend. Pour this sauce over the burgers.  Serve at once, either on a plate or on a bun or split hard roll.

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Rachel Whiteheart

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