Cheap cuts of meat can make fancy meals

June 15, 2009 9:40:08 AM PDT
Diners at Nectar in Berwyn expect a gourmet meal and are willing to pay for it. But, can you create a gourmet dining experience at home on a budget?

Executive Chef Patrick Feury, one of the owners of Nectar, says it can be done, even from the least expensive cuts of meat.

"What it really comes down to when you get these cuts of meat is you want to create cooking methods that really compliment them," he explains.

He showed us a recipe using top round, which was on sale for $2.99 a pound.

To make it tender and flavorful, he marinates it in red wine along with chopped vegetables. He used a Pinot Noir, but you can substitute a different wine.

Marinating (which adds flavor) and brining (which adds salt) are tricks that have been used for generations by people who couldn't afford more expensive cuts of meat.

Feury says, "A lot of immigrants and cultures that came to the U.S. did a lot of things with brisket... corned beef, pastrami, braised brisket. That's a really creative way of doing very flavorful things with an inexpensive cut."

Chef Feury sears the marinated meat, and then the vegetables. After that, he cooks down the marinade to make a sauce. Then he puts the meat back into the sauce and lets it simmer. Nothing is wasted.

The result is a meal fine enough for any table.

Here's Chef Feury's recipe for Grazed Red Wine Marinated Top Round:
1lb Beef Top Round
1qt Red Wine
½ cup Chopped Celery
½ cup Chopped Carrot
1 cup White Onion
4 cloves Garlic
3 sprigs Thyme
1tsp Black Pepper Corn
8 Cipollini Onions
8 Small Blue Potatoes
Cut the top round into two inch cubes. Combine all the ingredients in to plastic tub and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, separate the meat, vegetables and the wine.
Season the meat with salt and pepper.
In a hot pot add olive oil. Sear the meat on all sides and remove.
Add vegetables and roast until brown.
Deglaze with the wine and reduce by half.
Return the meat to the pot and add one quart of water and simmer for 45 minutes or until tender.
When meat is tender, strain the liquid and separate the meat from the vegetables.
Put the liquid back in the pot and reduce by half.
Take the meat and use the sauce to glaze it in the oven by basting it in the oven.

Here's his recipe for Crispy Turkey Breast, Pine Apple Sweet and Sour Sauce, Squash and Chilies
1 lb Turkey Breast
1 egg
2oz Corn Starch
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 oz Soy Bean Oil
4 oz White wine vinegar
4oz Sugar
4oz Pineapple Juice
8oz Water
In a pot add vinegar, sugar and pineapple juice cook down by half then add the water. Bring to a boil and remove and cool.
1 cup small dice Pineapple
1 Serrano Chile sliced, thin remove seeds
1 Red Bell Pepper medium diced
1 Zucchini Cut medium diced
1 Red Onion
4 spears Asparagus cut in to one inch
1 qt Soy Cooking Oil
2oz Corn Starch
2oz Water
Mix the corn starch and water and whisk together.
Dice the turkey in to 1.5 inch cubes. Season with salt and pepper then add the corn starch and the egg. At the end slowly add the soy bean oil not to let it separate.
In a deep pot, put one quart of soy bean oil to cover the bottom of the pot. There should be at least two inches of oil on the bottom of pot. The temperature of the oil should be at least 350. But, not so high that it's smoking! I use a wok to do this but a pot works just as well. Add the turkey to the pot. The cubes should not touch each other. You want them to get crispy all-around.
As soon as you have all you turkey crispy, set aside.
Remove the oil except for about 4 oz of oil in the pot.
Add the zucchini, bell pepper, onion, asparagus, pineapple and stir-fry for one minute.
Add the sauce and bring to a boil.
Whisk in the slurry and cook for one minute.
Combine the turkey, fold with the vegetables.

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