Tuesday, January 19, 2010

befriending your butcher

I quickly learned that the key to getting a good meal is to find a good butcher. Luckily, I didn't have to go far as we've got a really good butcher just down the road who not only has a wide range of meats, they're happy to order in special requests and will always cut a meat up 'just so'.

Because I quickly became a fan of slow-cooking I needed to find just the right cuts for this, and the answer was cheap meat cut up in gigantic chunks. At first I'd just buy the steak and cut it up, until I realised that nothing makes a good butcher happier than cutting up the perfect piece of meat so it'll cook to perfection.

Last night we had friends to dinner and I made Julia Child's Beef Bourginon. It was time-consuming, but every single act lead to some degree of deliciousness. For a start I had to dry each piece of meat on a paper towel before sauteeing it, and this meant it browned up beautifully rather than simmering to a dull grey in its juices. The only part of the recipe I didn't follow was to simmer the bacon in boiling water for 10 minutes to take out the saltiness {I mean, c'mon, THAT'S the appeal of bacon...}.

My butcher's also happy to take a Lillydale free-range chicken from its wrapping and cut it into pieces for me - something I'd need poultry shears and far more patience to do well. The the pieces are placed in a large ziplock bag with rosé, garlic, herbs, honey and lavender to become Nigella's ever-so-tasty St Tropez Chicken.

For convenience-sake I'll still grab a pre-packed piece of meat from the shelves at the supermarket, but I'm determined this year to keep patronising my butcher. Blokes such as he really do need to be rewarded...


  1. Couldn't agree more. Not only do you get better quality meat, but service with a smile. Oh, and there's just something about those stripey aprons ... or is that just me?

  2. YAY - you're my first comment on this blog! And yes, give me a smile and a stripey apron and I'm happy...

  3. Hello! I've just stumbled upon your blog and I do hope you update more, I've enjoyed reading - and it's interesting to read as it's usually a meat eater going vego :)