Health benefits and recipes for grassfed meat
Enriching your diet with grassfed and pastured animals is not only healthier, humane and more environmentally-friendly, it is also more uniquely delicious than eating animals confined to a feedlot or cages. Grassfed meats are especially succulent and flavorful when cooked on the grill. Shannon Hayes, author of The Farmer and the Grill and The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook, shares her insight on the benefits of including grassfed meats in your diet as well as three nourishing grassfed recipes.
The benefits of grassfed meats are boundlessAccording to Hayes, a grassfed meat producer who runs a sustainable farm in Upstate New York, raising animals on pasture and marketing them directly helps ensure the environmental and financial sustainability of small farms and keeps valuable agricultural businesses thriving.
"It contributes to local food security by guaranteeing availability of wholesome, clean food, with relatively little impact from the larger world's troubles. Best of all, we can assure people that this meat is decidedly safer and more healthful to eat," she adds. In addition, grassfed meats deliver a bevy of health benefits. Hayes emphasizes that true grassfed meat is:
- a source of omega-3 fatty acids (linked to lower blood pressure, healthy brain function and slower growth of cancer).
- a source of conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) (associated with improved immune systems and a reduced risk of cancer and heart disease).
- free of hormones, antibiotics and other drugs.
- less likely to be contaminated with E. coli.
- unlikely to be infected with mad cow disease.
- chock full of cancer-fighting antioxidants.
- raised on pastures that are capable of storing two to three times more carbon in their soils than fields that were left unmanaged, left for hay or unharvested.
- a healthy eco-friendly step towards personal and planetary health.
Grassfed meats need more attention than commercial meats"Grassfed meat tastes different than what you are used to. It is more robust in flavor, but more of a challenge to cook," says Hayes. "Grass-fed meats do not cook at the same temperatures. They have a different texture and taste. They even look a bit different." But don't let the extra attention that grassfed meats need deter you. Hayes' book The Farmer and the Grill is cooking with recipes and tips on grilling grassfed beef, lamb, pork and chicken to bring out their maximum flavor and juiciness.
Recipes for grassfed meat
Tamarind and Apple Butter SirloinServes 3 to 4
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
2 tablespoons apple butter
2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 (1-1/2 to 2 pound) sirloin tip steak or London broil
1. Whisk together tamarind, apple butter, ginger, olive oil, garlic, salt, vinegar, cayenne and onion in a bowl and pour into a baking pan or plastic zip-lock bag. Add the steak and thoroughly coat it with the marinade, cover, refrigerate and allow it to marinate for several hours or overnight.
Sesame Grilled Lamb ChopsServes 2
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons tamari (or lite soy sauce)
1/4 cup snipped fresh chives
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
4 loin or rib lamb chops, 1-1/4 inch thick or 2 shoulder chops, 1-1/4 inch thick
1. Whisk together garlic, orange juice, ginger, cayenne, tamari, chives and 2 tablespoons sesame oil in a shallow bowl or mix in a large zip-lock bag. Add the chops and coat. Allow meat to marinate, turning once, for 1 to 2 hours.
Chicken with Mustard GlazeServes 4
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/4 to 1/3 cup Dijon mustard (extra if your bird is large)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 (3 to 5 pound) chicken
1. Insert the garlic clove in the cavity of the chicken. Rub the mustard underneath the skin and over the surface of the bird. The chicken should be coated with a thick layer when you are finished. Sprinkle the skin generously with salt and pepper.