5 Tips to Help You Make the most of your Meat

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Real talk: pasture-raised, healthy meats cost a lot more than a pack of meat you can just throw into your cart at Costco! I know! And, lest you think I’m somehow swimming in a sea of free meat over here, Ryan and I buy everything we eat directly from Bavette at retail prices. So, I know that it can feel really expensive to buy quality meat. That’s why I think it’s really important to get the most bang for your meat buck. There are a lot of tips and tricks that I use at home to make sure we’re getting the most value out of every last bit, and so I wanted to take a moment to share those with you so that you too can start maximizing your meat dollars, and respect the animal as much as possible while you’re doing it. So, here are five easy little tips for you to try at home:

  1. Keep a ziplock bag in the freezer for bones. When you roast one chicken or rib roast and then ask yourself if you want to make stock with the bones, the answer might be no because it’s not worth it to make a tiny batch of stock. Stock is work and if you’re going to do it, you might as well do a lot at a time. At my house, I keep a bag in the freezer and my family knows that, when we clean up dinner, any bones that are left over go straight into that bag. If I’m cutting anything up at home before cooking, those bones can go into the bag, too. When the bag is full, I bust out the slow cooker and make some stock.

  2. Keep separate, labeled containers in the freezer for livers, hearts, and other offal type things. Really, the same thing goes here. If you buy, for instance, a whole chicken and you get the liver, heart, and gizzard inside, it’s not possible to do much with those tiny little things. But, if you accumulate a bunch of them over time, you can do lots of things! Personally, I like to make skewers of chicken hearts wrapped in pancetta and grilled and chicken liver pates and mousses.

  3. Keep a separate, labeled container in the freezer for fat and skins. Now you’re getting the hang of things! Of course, the main idea here is that eventually, when you have enough chicken skin or beef or pork fat accumulated, you can defrost it and render it so that you have a natural cooking fat to use. This saves you money in the long run since you won't have to buy cooking oils, and increasingly animal fats are being recognized for their health benefits for us. The slow cooker makes rendering fat easy and, pro-tip, if you add some garlic or rosemary in there while it’s going, the whole pot will be infused with flavor.

  4. Use trim and scraps in stock or bone broth. If you happen to trim anything off before you cook a piece of meat, or you have some fatty or chewy scraps that no one ends up eating, throw those into the bone bag. They can add a lot of flavor to your broths and stocks.

  5. Feed your pets & get creative in the kitchen. Chicken gizzards, pork livers, and other offal cuts can be amazingly healthful for us, and delicious. But, if that’s not your thing, you can always chop them right up in the food processor and freeze in small containers to add to your pet's food. Blitzing them in the food processor also makes it easy to incorporate a tiny amount into ragus, burgers, and other ground meat dishes, if you’re feeling adventurous. Offal contains a lot of minerals and nutrients that we usually don’t get enough of, and starting with a tiny amount will hardly be noticeable to your palate.


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Thanks! melissa

Butterflied Chicken with Everything-Spice Smashed Potatoes & Chili-Flecked Yogurt

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Hey hey Troop!

This dinner is totally doable for a weeknight and has lots of things going for it:

  1. Everything spice. That stuff we normally have on everything bagels? It’s delicious and, turns out, works well on lots of other stuff. FYI, it's usually a combo of sesame and poppy seeds, dried onion, dried garlic, and salt. 

  2. Butterflied chicken. In case you’re confused about what I mean when I say butterflied chicken, it’s a whole chicken from which the backbone and part of the breastbone have been removed. The important thing to know is: the bird lies flat. This means it cooks in half the time and is easier to carve.

  3. Chili-flecked Greek yogurt. Tangy, a little spicy and healthy. Who says we can’t have it all?

I do have some hot tips for cooking this recipe.

When it comes to the chicken, make sure you dry off the skin really well. A dry surface means easier, better browning yielding a more crisp, delicious skin. Also, a big cast iron pan will likely give you the best browning, and transfers right into the oven.

As for the potatoes, make sure the water you cook them in is salty, and that you start with cold water. Technically speaking, “salty like the sea” means about 3% salt so that means, for every one liter of water, you would want about 30 grams of salt. That is roughly two tablespoons of salt for every liter of water. Or you can just dip your finger in and taste how salty the water is. Whatever you feel more comfortable doing. Don’t get baby potatoes that are too small. They should be golf ball sized or slightly bigger so that you can get the most crispy surface area after they’re smashed.

For the spices, I used the everything spice from Trader Joe’s. It’s super delicious. For the chili, you can really use anything- like Aleppo or Urfa- but I used the blend from Other Brother. I’m a big fan.

Lastly, don’t use skim yogurt. Please. That’s ridiculous.

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Roasted Butterflied Chicken with Everything Spice Smashed Potatoes & Chili Flecked Yogurt

Serves (up to) 4 people

  • 1 whole butterflied chicken, 2-3 lbs
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chili flecked yogurt, see recipe below
  • Everything-spice smashed potatoes, see recipe below

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Get the potato recipe going.
  3. Dry the chicken off and season liberally with salt and pepper on all sides.
  4. Heat a cast iron pan or heavy skillet that’s big enough to fit the chicken. Add the grapeseed oil and allow to heat until the oil shimmers and spread easily around the pan.
  5. Dry the chicken off again, if it needs it, and add the chicken, skin-side down, to the pan. Press down to get it to adhere. If possible, use another heavy pan to weigh down the chicken.
  6. Allow to cook for 5-10 minutes, rotating the pan every few minutes, until the skin side is well-browned and crisp. Turn over and move entire pan to the oven to finish cooking. Generally speaking, the chicken should take 20-25 minutes to get to an internal temp of 165.
  7. While the chicken is cooking, smash potatoes and get them into the oven. Then, make the chili flecked yogurt.
  8. Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
  9. While chicken is resting, toss potatoes with everything spice. Dress arugula with a little extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice to taste. Drizzle the rest of the lemon juice over the resting chicken.
  10. Carve the chicken and serve with the arugula, yogurt sauce, and potatoes.

Everything-Spice Smashed Potatoes

  • 2 lbs small potatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp everything spice
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 (or, if you’re doing the chicken, it should already be at 425!) Put a rimmed baking tray in the oven to heat.
  2. Put the potatoes, whole, into a pot with cold water and make sure they’re covered by at least two inches. Season the water with salt.
  3. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender and the skin splits a little bit on the sides. They should not be falling apart.
  4. Drain the potatoes and pull the hot pan out of the oven. Toss the potatoes in the 2 tbsp of olive oil.
  5. Pour the potatoes onto the pan, being careful to remember that it’s still very hot! Use a potato smasher or the flat end of a measuring cup to carefully flatten each potato. Don’t worry if some of them break up into pieces- those become crispy and delicious.
  6. Put the pan back into the oven and roast until browned on the bottom side. Depending on your oven, you may need to flip the potatoes to brown them on the other side. (For me, I have to put the whole pan on the bottom of the oven to even get them to brown, and then I flip them and put them back on the bottom to brown on the other side.
  7. When potatoes are brown and edges are crispy, put them in a large bowl and pour the everything spice over. Toss the potatoes in the everything spice and serve ASAP.

Chili-Flecked Yogurt

Makes 1 cup

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1-2 tsp ground chili, like Urfa or Aleppo
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Mix everything together and season with salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to use.

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Here's a  behind the scenes picture of me while making this dish, just for fun. That's my usual hair, btw.

And, if you don't want to miss a recipe, be sure to sign up to be a part of Troop Bavette here.

Don't forget to tag @bavettemeatandprovisions if you make this dish! I love to see your photos. 

Xx

Melissa