By Julia Howard
I consider myself to be a decent cook but I will confess that I have always felt insecure preparing dishes with meat. So whenever I want to prepare lamb, beef, goat, or pork I look to the experts; the farmers who raised the animals and know the cuts and flavors best.
An upcoming dinner with friends prompted me to visit the farmers’ market for the right meat and cooking instructions for my visionary main course. First, I visit Christophe Robert of Longlesson Farm. “Keep it simple and cook the meat (steak) at a low temperature and finish with a sear,” Robert advises.
Caroline from Lewis Waite Farm gave similar advice. She explains that pasture-raised, 100% grass-fed meats cook differently. “They have less fat so you need to adjust how you approach cooking it with lower temperatures and less time,” she explains. Caroline recommends flat iron steaks, which are from a tender part of the shoulder. “Just a few minutes on each side on a low-heat pan works great,” says Caroline. The meat may be sliced up for fajitas and soups, or served as a steak.
Mary Pratt of Elihu Farm has a variety of cuts of lamb that may be bought fresh year-round at the farmers’ market. Pratt recommends a lamb shoulder roast or shoulder chops, bone-in neck, and shanks which make excellent stew. “You can use lamb stew cuts in recipes from many cultures,” explains Pratt. One of her favorite recipes is for lamb osso bucco, which can be found in the cookbook From the Earth to the Table. In addition, Pratt recommends lamb recipes from Paula Wolfert’s cookbooks and USA Grilling.
Goat is another meat option available at the farmers’ market. Jim Gupta-Carlson of Squashville Farm recommends goat rib chops and loin chops. “They are flavorful and quite simple to prepare,” says Gupta-Carlson. Simply season with salt and pepper and sear the chops on both sides on either a grill or skillet. Then let them cook at a lower temperature until they are medium-rare. Gupta-Carlson recommends letting the chops rest for a few minutes before serving.
The farmers’ market will move indoors to the Wilton Mall on Saturday, November 2 from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm. There, customers may peruse offerings of goat, lamb, beef, and pork, and gather cooking advice from Elihu Farm, Lewis Waite Farm, Longlesson Farm, Mariaville Mushroom Men, Moxie Ridge Farm, Ramble Creek Farm, Slate River Farms, and Squashville Farm.