Thursday, February 21, 2013

Estancia Beef...

San Francisco is e-x-p-e-n-s-i-v-e, especially if you rent your living space. One of the ways I am able to keep some money in my pocket is by cooking at home most of the week. I do the majority of my grocery shopping at Safeway because I'm a big fan of their "Just for U" personalized shopper savings program which has enabled me to save over 40% on some shopping trips! But one thing that I have not been so pleased about in relation to Safeway is their beef selection. I've tried several of the different beef brand offerings there but none of them taste good to me. And since I am lucky enough to live in an area where there is lots in meat variety, one of my New Year's resolutions was to stop purchasing the Safeway beef options and try some alternatives instead.

Meat and I have a love/hate relationship. Some days, I convince myself that I am going to be a vegetarian (like after I hear those terrible stories from Peta). Other days, I contemplate a vegan diet, then cave to the idea due to my love for dairy products. Plus I get a cravings for meat often...why just last week, I was jonesing for some pot roast (comfort food).

Never in all of my life had I ever felt the inclination to make pot roast until late last year when I got on board with the latest crock pot craze...set it and forget it right? So on Facebook, I asked my friends to share their favorite pot roast in the crock pot recipe and a couple of them honored my request. One of the recipes, To Die For Pot Roast, looked as though it would taste great so I decided to give it a try. I also decided that I would add in a 1/2 cup of red wine for more flavor (as my friend recommended). But what beef would I use for the recipe?

Another friend suggested Estancia Beef which is only available at select butcher shops and grocery stores, mostly located on the West Coast (Here in San Francisco, you can purchase Estancia Beef at Bi-Rite Market & Real Food Company). I recalled how my friend raved about this beef because the animals are pasture-raised and grass-fed rather than grain-fed in a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) as is often the case in relation to U.S. meat production present day. I appreciated the natural sounding approach more and couldn't remember a time of knowingly consuming grass-fed beef in the past. So I picked up some Estancia chuck roast and set off to make my very first pot roast in my crock pot. And after waiting out the roughly 8 hours of cooking time, this was my reward...

To Die For Pot Roast.
The beef tasted AMAZING in its slow-cooked form--tender, fell apart easily and possessed both a rich flavor and clean finish...distinguishably different in comparison to the grain-fed meats I am more used to consuming. Plus I felt lighter than I usually would after a meat meal.

As for the recipe, I give it 4 out of 5 stars because onions were omitted. Next time I make this dish, I will definitely add them in, perhaps some pearl onions would work well. And while adding the 1/2 cup of red wine was definitely an excellent tip, in the future I think I will use it as a substitute for 1/2 cup of the 1 cup of water that the recipe calls for. But overall, this meal turned out to be a great success because it was easy to make, DELICIOUS and I found a new meat to cook with that actually tastes good.

Want to try Estancia Beef but you're not into cooking? Many restaurants around San Francisco are using it for their dishes including The Slanted Door in the Embarcadero and Tacolicious in the Mission. If you try it, leave a comment with your thoughts!

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