lamb

Applestone Meat Company  

by Anne Maxfield on September 9, 2019

If you’re of a certain age, you might remember Horn & Hardart and the Automat. It was a place in New York where you could pick your meal, plate by plate from a wall of vending machines. As a kid, putting a nickel in the slot and getting a piece of pie never got old.

Applestone Meat Company has taken the Automat concept and brought it into the 21st century. In their new Hudson NY store, gleaming rows of vending machines offer an incredible array of meats. There are literally hundreds of cuts to choose from, ranging from beef—fresh or dry-aged, to chicken, pork, lamb and even a whole case dedicated to sausages.

Besides the incredible variety, there’s the convenience factor – both the new Hudson location as well as the original Stone Ridge store are open 24/7. And “all of the meat we source is from animals raised without added hormones or antibiotics, and they’ve all been raised by farmers who are truly committed to their well-being.”

Now you’re probably thinking two things, why would I need a 24-hour butcher and isn’t this going to be expensive? I can’t really answer the 24 hour thing except to say that there have been times when I’ve thought that I’d really like to make _____ but the butcher is closed (and call me a snob, but I don’t buy meat from a supermarket). And maybe you have a job where you’re not out and about during normal business hours. Now you have options.

If you’re used to getting your meat from a butcher or farmers’ market, you’ll find their prices are pretty reasonable. If you’re used to big box prices, well…

I was invited by Applestone to see the new Hudson location and pick up a “care package.” Since my friend Janet has been raving about the quality of the meat for ages, I jumped at the chance. The new store is just off the beaten path of all the action on Warren Street.  From 11-6 there’s a service window where you can place special orders (online also), choose from their frozen inventory, or pick up special orders and the staff is happy to show you around the space and explain how the vending machines work.

The machines are stocked daily and everything is vacuum packed, which is great because it extends the amount of time it can sit in your fridge and if you freeze it, prevents freezer burn. All the packages also have a use- or freeze-by date, so you won’t be wasting food.

My “care package” had a beautiful dry aged ribeye steak, a couple of lamb loin chops, some ground beef and a package of chorizo. My chance to test out the vending machines came when I discovered they also have merguez, so I bought a package.

We “grilled” the merguez and chorizo in the grill pan and they were both really tasty. If you worry about either of them being overly spicy, don’t. They both are well spiced, but not killer hot.

It took a while before we decided to treat ourselves to the ribeye, but finally the right night came and we cooked it to perfection in the cast iron pan. It was juicy and tender with great steak flavor. You got a hint of the aging process, but again, not overwhelming (which is more to my taste). That and a couple of ears of corn, and we had the perfect end-of-summer dinner.

Although Applestone’s new Hudson location is a little off my normal route, it’s great to know it’s there and open all the time. I’ll definitely stop by anytime I’m in the area. The meat was great, it’s reasonably priced and hey—there’s the fun factor of playing with the machines.

21 Green Street, Hudson NY 12534

845-626-4444

Or the original location at:

3607 Main Street, Stone Ridge NY 12484

 

 

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Stuffed Zucchini With Lamb and Rice

by Anne Maxfield on August 26, 2019

This is a perfect summer dish, good for using up that CSA zucchini and much easier than my other favorite stuffed zucchini.

Stuffed Zucchini With Lamb and Rice

  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 1/2 cup short-grain rice, such as arborio, soaked for 20 minutes and drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 pound ground lamb
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound tomatoes sliced 1/4” thick
  • Labne or Greek yogurt for garnish (optional)

Halve the zucchini lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, leaving 1/4-inch-thick shells. Reserve 1 cup of the zucchini flesh and finely chop it.

In a large bowl, mix the drained rice with the turmeric. Add the chopped zucchini, lamb, butter, cumin seeds, ground cumin and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Using your hands, gently knead the mixture until blended. Add 1/4 cup of the water and knead until evenly moistened. Stuff the zucchini halves with the lamb filling.

Line the bottom of a large, deep skillet with the tomato slices and season lightly with salt and pepper. Arrange the stuffed zucchini halves on top of the tomatoes in a single layer. Add the remaining 1 cup of water to the skillet and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over moderately low heat for about 25 minutes, until the lamb is cooked through and the rice is tender.

Transfer the zucchini to a platter. Cook the tomatoes over high heat, mashing them, until thickened, about 4 minutes. Spoon the tomatoes over the zucchini, top with a spoonful of labne or Greek yogurt, serve and enjoy!

My verdict: This was a winner! Frank said “you can make this any time” (his highest compliment) so I made it again about a week later.

You’ll have lots of zucchini “guts” so when you’re putting the 1 cup aside choose the parts with the least amount of seeds.

I’ve done it with both aborio and bomba rice, but haven’t really noticed a difference in flavor, so I’m guessing that almost any rice would work. I was thinking of subbing some chicken broth for the water the last time I made it, but totally forgot.

 

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Cumin Lamb with Sichuan Peppercorns

by Anne Maxfield on May 6, 2019

Accidental Locavore Cumin Lamb Maybe it’s the time of year, or maybe it’s because the one decent Chinese restaurant closed, but I’ve been on kind of an Oriental run lately and this lamb dish, was part of it. Serves 4:

Cumin Lamb with Sichuan Peppercorns

  • 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons Sichuan or regular peppercorns
  • 1 pound boneless lamb
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 to 8 dried red chiles (or substitute 1/2 teaspoon or more crushed red pepper)
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 bunch (about 8) scallions, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Chinese cooking sherry or dry sherry
  • 2 cups fresh cilantro, leaves and stems

In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast cumin seeds and peppercorns until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and crush lightly.

Slice meat across the grain into 1/2-inch-thick strips. Toss meat with crushed spices, ground cumin, salt and dried chiles.

Accidental Locavore Cumin Lamb MixPeel onion and halve it through the root end. Trim the ends and cut each half lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Cut white and light green parts of scallions into 2-inch lengths. Thinly slice scallion greens; keep separate.

Accidental Locavore Cumin Lamb PrepHeat a very large skillet or wok over high heat until screaming hot, about 5 minutes. Add oil. Toss in onion and the scallion bottoms. Cook, tossing occasionally, until vegetables are lightly charred but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Add lamb and chiles to skillet. Cook, tossing quickly, until meat begins to brown. Add garlic, soy sauce and sherry. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and lamb is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Toss in onions and scallion bottoms. Remove from heat and mix in cilantro and scallion greens. Serve hot, over rice and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Cumin Lamb CookingMy verdict: Another “you can make this anytime” from Frank. It’s hot but not killer, most of the heat coming from the Sichuan peppercorns. If you don’t have them, it will work with regular peppercorns, but won’t have the interesting kick you get from the Sichuan ones.

Since it was close to Easter when I made this, I was able to find a nice small piece of boneless leg of lamb which worked well, but if you don’t mind working around the bones, shoulder chops would work, and are generally a lot less expensive.

I didn’t have any peanut oil, so just used regular vegetable oil and it worked fine. You don’t want olive oil here, because you’re using high heat. Same story with the Chinese cooking sherry—just use dry sherry if you have it.

As you can see from the top photo, we had some green beans in the fridge, so I just tossed them in when I added the lamb and chiles.

 

 

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Accidental Locavore LambThis year Slow Food Hudson Valley’s 5th Annual Snout to Tail event takes on a whole new look.
Instead of being a two-day event, it’s a much more accessible one day experience.

Look forward to spending Saturday April 6th at Montgomery Place Orchards in Red Hook NY, with “some of the best lamb I have ever consumed” according to Slow Food Hudson Valley’s Co-Chair Rich Vergili.
The day will start out with a butchering demonstration of a lamb with butcher and “chef extraordinaire” Tom Schneller.
If you’re partial to, or curious about a certain cut, it’s possible that Chef Schneller will be able to demo that for the group.

Chef Daniel Turegon will be cooking up the lamb 3-4 ways for everyone to enjoy along with accompaniments. You’ll be enjoying plates of lamb sausage, chops and boneless leg.
Along with that, each attendee will get up to a pound of sausage or another cut to take home. If that’s not enough for lamb die-hards, there will be additional cuts to purchase.

During the event, you’ll have the chance to meet and talk everyone involved in the process.
Farmer Erin Bradt from the Helder-Herdwyck Farm in East Berne, N. Y who raises the lambs, will discuss running a holistically managed, pasture-based small family farm, sustainably producing heritage meats and pastured eggs. The Herdwick lamb is raised by only 2 farmers in the United States at this time. This rare breed is traditionally bred and raised in the Lake District in Cumbria, England.

While Chef Schneller wields his knives, and Chef Turegon cooks, Chef John Kowalski will be offering a hands-on demonstration of the art of sausage making.

Accidental Locavore Lamb ShankBecause this is such an extraordinary opportunity to learn about and taste Herdwick lamb, this event is strictly limited to 15 guests.
Tickets are $110 and available at Brown Paper Tickets.

Don’t miss out on this unique experience!

Slow Food Hudson Valley’s 5th Annual Snout to Tail
Saturday April 6, 2019
10:00 AM-3:00 PM
Montgomery Place Orchards 8 Davis Drive, Red Hook NY

For more information contact Rich Vergili

Thanks to Rich and Helder-Herdwyck Farm for the photos.

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