It is early winter, and as the days become shorter, things slow down in the natural world. Egg laying is noticeably slower. Honeybee brood cycles are are scaled way back; the drones having been cast out (weeks ago) to preserve the resources of the hive. Our cattle are moved to winter pasture; and while we could keep a few cows near the house for milk/cheese, we prefer to let the girls rest after the rough (read: drought) summer here. Not taking milk allows the cows a chance to rest and recondition. This slowing down is a part of regeneration.
Humans, often forgetting our animal nature, can be out of sync with the rythms of particular seasons – especially the slower more inward season that we are in now. We continue the ceaseless output of energy that culture demands, as if it were perpetual spring – energy bursting upward and outward, rather than inward and in to our metaphorical roots. . We are a part of the animal, insects, and plant kingdoms with which we live. And seasons, with their increase and decrease in light and energy, offer different things to us. The winter kitchen is one of the few places where we can enjoy the slowness of this season, because winter meals often take time to simmer or bake. We are nearing the winter solstice, which occurs between December 20th and the 23rd , wrapping the animals, insects, and plants, living on this side of the planet, in darkness.
This recipe for Super-Slow-Roasted Rosemary-Crusted Chuck Steak, from Shannon Hayes’s THE GRASSFED GOURMET COOKBOOK is a flavorful way to both practice and delight in the Slowness of the Season. And precisely because it T A K E S T I M E, the flavors have time to mingle sensuously, another perk of the cold season. More oddly, I feel it gives kitchens – sometimes forgotten as the “heart” of the home – a chance to embody their mission. Cooking meals slowly allows the kitchen to warm the home from the kitchen outward; you may find that family and friends linger a little longer, basking in the aromas and warmth and heartbeat. Forgive me for saying it, but I think I hear the kitchen smiling.
RECIPE: Super-Slow-Roasted Rosemary-Crusted Chuck Steak
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Rub Garlic Rosemary Rub into the chuck (see below***)
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 30-60 minutes. Roast the meat in a shallow pan for 30 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 170 degrees F. Continue to roast for 4-6 hours, (depending on the weight the larger the cut the longer it takes to roast), or until an internal meat thermometer registers 120 F to 125 F. Hayes suggests that you do not cook it beyond 125F or you will loose tenderness. And in keeping with the Spirit of Slow: allow the meat to rest (with loose foil tented) for 5- 10 minutes before slicing.
*** Garlic-Rosemary Rub: 2 Tablespoons of dried Rosemary, 1 clove garlic, minced, 1 ½ Tablespoons coarse salt, 2 Teaspoons freshly ground black pepper.
Note: I cannot recommend Shannon Hayes, The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook enough. It will likely change the way you look at farming, flavors, and how they/we are connected.
* If you are a veggie/vegan try slow roasting winter’s roots vegetables with the oil of your choice and the same spices in the rub, but do not cook them as long, just till as tender and as flavorful as you love.
Please note: The photos were taken by me to share with you; I would love it if you would please leave them here (and not abscond with them to other parts of the internet). Thank you so much.