By Nathan Payne
Growing evidence suggests that not all red meat is created equal. A mounting body of research reveals the benefits of traditional pasture-raised animals, versus confinement-based, grain-fed ones. From a nutritional perspective, the meat from pasture-raised cattle is lower in total fat and also typically has higher levels of conjugated linoleic acids (CLA), Omega-3 Fatty Acids (ALA and sometimes higher EPA and DHA), along with higher levels of vitamins and antioxidants. CLA is an unsaturated fatty acid that is suspected to protect the heart, provide anticancer benefits and enhance our immune system.
The next time you are shopping for meat, consider beef from pasture-raised cattle as a healthier and more ethical alternative to meat from cattle confined on feedlots and provided a grain-based diet. And try this recipe for a tasty meal including red meat.
Garlic and Rosemary Crusted Ontario Sirloin Steak
With sweet potato coins, steamed broccoli and a grilled corn and roasted pepper salsa
Recipe by Chef Matthew Kennedy
1 ea 6 oz Ontario sirloin steak*
1 ea garlic clove
2 sprig rosemary
Grape seed oil
1 ea sweet potato
1 bu chives – finely sliced
1 cup broccoli florets
1 ea corn on the cob
1 ea red bell pepper
1 ea shallot
2 sprig parsley
1 ea lime
Extra virgin olive oil
Roasted ground black pepper**
● Sirloin Marinade: Wash and pick the leaves from the rosemary, and keep the stems for later. With a French knife finely chop the rosemary and garlic clove and place it in a small bowl. Add and mix in grape seed oil to cover.
● Using a piece of paper towel or a kitchen towel, dry beef sirloin. Rub a generous amount of Sirloin Marinade onto all sides of the beef. Place in the fridge overnight, in an airtight container or use it right away.
● Corn Salsa: In a cast iron griddle pan or on a barbeque grill the corn on all sides, slice off kernels and place in a small mixing bowl. Slice the flesh of the pepper off in 4 pieces and grill skin side down until skins are burnt. To remove the skins place the hot peppers in an airtight container for 10 minutes. Remove lid and the peels slide right off. Slice the peppers into ¼ inch squares and add to corn. Dice shallots and coarsely chop parsley, add to pepper/corn mixture. Slice the lime in half and squeeze until desired bite is achieved. Season with salt and pepper and a splash of extra virgin olive oil.
● Wash and peel sweet potato. Slice the potato into ½ inch rounds and place in a medium stainless steel saucepan. Cover with cold water and apply high heat. When the water comes to a simmer turn the temperature down to maintain the simmer and season with salt. Cook until fork tender, carefully drain off water and cover to keep hot.
● Season the sirloin steak with salt and black pepper on both sides. Using a heavy bottomed pan heat 2 tsp grape seed oil to the smoke point (when the oil just starts to smoke gently) and carefully place the sirloin in the pan with the rosemary stems. Cook beef on both sides until dark golden brown and reduce heat to finish to desired internal temperature. Discard rosemary stems.
● Steam broccoli florets in a small stainless steel saucepan until tender. Strain and place broccoli on top of sweet potato and cover to keep hot.
● Plating: shingle sweet potato rounds in centre of plate. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sliced chives. Scatter broccoli florets around plate. Slice sirloin into 3-5 pieces and fan on top of sweet potato. Spoon generous amount of salsa over beef and garnish with olive oil.
*Sirloin steak is commonly available in most grocery stores. Top sirloin will cost you a little more than bottom sirloin, but both are great, lean and if treated properly, tender cuts of beef.
**Tip; buy whole peppercorns and sauté in a stainless steel sauté pan over medium-high heat for 3-6 minutes or until crackling and intensely aromatic. Cool before grinding.
Matthew Kennedy walks the walk towards a more balanced model of urban/rural and chef/farmer relations. A graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, Kennedy also completed extended internships in Toronto and France. Matthew has consulted with restaurants around Lawrence Park and has developed food education workshops with the Toronto Green Community.