Entries in Recipes (13)

Tuesday
Dec302014

Easy Bone Broth

You're going to be amazed making bone broth is so simple or frustrated you've never done it before.  There are many, many recipes available, but this one is simple, pure and nutritious.  

Not all bones are created equal - this recipe is for bones from the cattle, pigs, turkeys and chicken raised at Synergistic Acres, on pasture every day of their lives.  They are rotated daily, have access to free choice minerals and have a low stress life, all of which affect the overall quality of the product.  I'm biased, I know, but the proof is in the pudding, er...broth.

If you can put things in a pot, add water and wait, you are set to make your own broth!

Easy Bone Broth Recipe

Place Synergistic Acres bones in a stock pot.  Cover with cold water.  Add a splash of vinegar or apple cider vinegar (an acid to help leach out the minerals).  Let sit for an hour, then bring to an almost boil aka a rolling simmer.  Skim the surface if needed, reduce to low, let simmer for 48-72 hours.  This length is needed to fully extract the minerals.  Remove bones, transfer broth to jars and store in fridge.  After the broth is chilled, the flavors will be set and the gelatin in full effect.  Your broth will be thick and gelatinous, you will need a spoon to get it out of your jar!

you can use your homemade broth...

  • as a soup base
  • added to water when cooking rice, barley, noodles, quinoa, farro, etc
  • warmed, as a drink (flavor with herbs and salted if desired)
  • on your pet's food
  • to saute veggies
  • in a stew
  • for gravy, sauces or reductions
  • as the liquid when cooking in a slow cooker
The awesome thing about broth made from the bones at Synergistic Acres is that the broth gels amazingly!  I used to make broth from store-bought bones and even other small farm raised bones and never understood the 'gel' part that was described in recipes.  Well, now I totally get it as my broth is thick and gelatinous - which just means more benefits!

When you want to increase the depth of flavors, you can do one or two additional, easy steps.
1. roast the bones at 350 for about 30 minutes.  This will add a depth of flavor and richness of color to your broth.  This is especially useful for beef and pork bones.
2. toss in some peeled carrots or celery ends or a garlic head cut in half and let them simmer with your broth.  Strain them out when you jar the broth.  This will add nuances of flavors and some nutrients, too!

I hope you get to try your hand at making broth soon!
Thursday
Feb272014

5 tips for cooking grassfed beef

The cows we grow on our farm are special.  They are raised and cared for daily with the goal of providing Kansas City with nutritious and delicious grassfed beef.  There are three steps to having great tasting beef on your table.  One is the raising of the animal, two is the processing of the animal and three is the cooking of the meat.  We work very hard to ensure the first two things maximize the flavor and nutrition of the meat, the final step is up to you.  Luckily, cooking grassfed beef is not difficult.  

It only takes a little care to ensure you cook your grassfed beef properly.  Cooking grassfed beef is different than cooking grainfed beef.  Not only are the flavors and texture different, they have different fat and marbling characterisitcs that necessitate different methods.  If you cook grassfed beef as you would grainfed beef, it will likely be tough and overcooked.  To avoid that, follow a few simple guidelines and you'll make a meal to remember!

We offer these tips:

  1. let meat come to room temperature for about an hour before cooking it and preheat your oven/grill/stove so it is ready.
  2. use a meat thermomenter, this is the easiest way to ensure the meat does not get overcooked.
  3. aim for undercooking as you can always increase cooking time if the meat is not done enough, but you cannot un-cook it - many recipes I have followed take less than half the time shown.
  4. the meat will continue to cook once it is removed from the heat - allowing it to rest for 10 minutes allows the juices to redistribute and the cooking to complete.  My favorite sirloin tip roast recipe calls for cooking to 115°F, then turning off the oven leaving the roast in until 130°F and then removing the roast from the oven and letting it rest for ten minutes - that's quite a bit of additonal cooking without applying heat.
  5. use tongs to turn the meat (instead of a fork) to avoid piercing the meat and leaking juices.

Here's some additional handy tips from American Grassfed Association

If you're looking for a bevy of grassfed or pastured based recipes, New York farmer Shannon Hayes blogs about her experience farming and cooking.

What tips have you found to be helpful as you prepare your grassfed beef?

100% grassfed, heritage Galloway beef makes a meal to remember

 

Saturday
May042013

Skills Lost -- But Not Forever!

Do you know how to piece out a chicken?  Did your mother?

There was a time in America where everyone could take a whole prepared chicken and piece it out to serve to their family.  However, that skill has been lost by the majority of Americans in less than a generation.  There are a lot of factors that have led to this loss of chicken cutting skills - primarily that the supermarkets now sell the parts already processed for you cheaply and you simply buy a bag of chicken breasts and never have to touch the meat in order to prepare it.  I think there is an even bigger reason though and this is where Synergistic Acres feels there needs to be an intervention -- people have become so disconnected with their food, that they no longer see food as the animal it is -- but rather the parts that it becomes.  Iti si easier to perpetuate this mirage if we never see the whole animal, but rather just the process parts.

However, I believe for many peoeple, this is changing.  They are become disenfranchsied with the sterile unfulfilling pastic wrapped package of industrial chicken and instead want to become more connected with their food --- but they don't know how to take the first step. I have been in conversations over and over where people say -- "I would  like to buy one of your chickens -- my friends are raving about them -- but I don't know how to cut one up."  Well, never fear.  I have  the solution.  I will come teach you and all your friends how to cut up a chicken in less than two minutes.  

If you will commit to finding five other people to join you at your house and allow me to use your kitchen counters, I will demonstrate how using one knife and a cutting board you can take a whole chicken and cut it up into legs, thighs, breast and tenders -- in less than two minutes.  Then, if you like, I will even take it one step further and show you how to make a broth from the bones and other meat and quickly make chicken nuggets that the family will love -- faster than you can open the box of your children's current favorites.

You can think of this like the current rage of at-home shopping parties -- but with meat. 

Give me an email at jeff@synergisticacres.com and we'll schedule a time for me to come cut up some chicken in your kitchen!

 

Thursday
May022013

using organ meats and having your family actually eat them

Recently, I've been reading about the many benefits of eating organ meats (vitamins A, D, E, K, B12, riboflavin and folic acid, and minerals such as copper, zinc, selenium and iron). All the information I have read emphasizes the need for pasture raised organ meats.  The suggestion to make a liver pâté is a bit beyond me at this time, but I wondered if there was another way to include these highly nutritious meats in our diet.  My first attempts were in a spaghetti sauce.  Startin' easy :)

First, I thawed 1/2# pasture raised chicken livers.  I put them in my Cuisinart food processor to chop/puree them and then cooked them mixed in with 1# pasture raised ground beef.  Blended with the sauce and served over noodles, this was a bit hit!  I was thrilled with the added nutrition and not one of us could specifically taste the liver.

Second, I used the offal from one pasture raised turkey which included the heart, liver, and gizzard.  Again, the Cuisinart did the chopping, though I did some additional hand-cutting with the gizzard as it was not chopping down as quickly as the heart and liver.  This time, I did not mix the organ meats with beef, but cooked them alone.  The girls called out to see what I was cooking that smelled so good.  Jeff got home and asked the same thing!  I blended the organ meats with our spaghetti sauce and served over noodles.  This time, we thought the meat had good flavor but wanted the gizzard pieces to be smaller.  We were pleased with the overall flavor and texture but will adjust the size of the gizzard pieces next time to more closely resemble ground beef crumbles.  

What a great way to boost nutrition and put to use the whole chicken (or turkey)!  I will definitely incorporate more organ meats into our diets.  And explore beyond a meaty spaghetti sauce!  Have you cooked with organ meats?  What are your favorite ways to use them in cooking?

Tuesday
Mar122013

do you wanna buy chicken feet?

I love asking that question.  And the incredulous looks in reply are pretty great.  Yes, we do offer chicken feet and yes, I think you should use them.  First, I'll share some of the great benefits of using bones in your cooking and I'll finish with a simple can-do recipe, including some easy ways to use the broth.

sooo gelatinous when made with pasture-raised chicken bones and feetBenefits of Bone Broth

Bone broths are a traditional method of not only using the whole animal, but as a way to get vital minerals into your diet.  You probably are not surprised that calcium is imparted in a bone broth, but did you know you also get phosphorous, sodium, potassium, fluoride, magnesium and sulfur - all in bioavailable forms?  The collagen in a bone broth can help heal your gut, strengthen your bones, and improve your skin, hair and nails.  The glucosamine in bone broth helps your joints.  Bone broth supports your immune system as well.  The chicken feet, in particular, add additional gelatin.

More benefits of bone broth are described by Body Ecology.  Weston A. Price thinks broth is beautiful!

homemade broth is simple and full of nutritionSimple Can-do Recipe for Chicken Bone Broth

Place pasture-raised Synergistic Acres chicken carcass and 2 chicken feet in a stock pot.  Cover with cold water.  Add a splash of vinegar or apple cider vinegar (an acid to help leach out the minerals).  Let sit for an hour, then bring to a boil.  Skim the surface if needed, reduce to low, let simmer for 24-48 hours.  This length is needed to fully extract the minerals.  Strain broth from bones and feet and store in fridge or freezer, compost the bones/feet.  The awesome thing about broth made from the chickens at Synergistic Acres is that the broth gels amazingly!  I used to make broth from store-bought chickens and never understood the 'gel' part that was described in recipes.  Well, now I totally get it as my broth is thick and gelationous - which just means more benefits!

you can use your homemade chicken broth...

  • as a soup base
  • added to water when cooking rice, barley, noodles, quinoa, farro, etc
  • warmed, as a drink (flavor with herbs and salted if desired)
  • on your pet's food
  • to saute veggies
  • in a stew
  • for gravy, sauces or reductions

Making chicken broth is cheap, simple and full of nutritional benefits and you're ready to buy some chicken feet?  You can be assured that ours are coming from our pastured chickens, of course.  As part of the processing, we scald the feet to clean them, then package them by the pound (which is about a quart baggie full, apprx 12 feet) and then freeze them.  You can easily remove a couple to use in your next batch of bone broth and know that you're getting all those extra benefits!  I have a batch of bone broth going right now and it smells so good!

Synergistic Acres - 21733 Iliff Rd, Parker, KS 66072 - 913-735-4769
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