Beef · Cattle · Cooking · Food & Drink

The start of Great British Beef Week…

Today, St George’s Day, marks the start of Great British Beef Week.

Running for seven days, the celebration was started by Ladies in Beef – a group of more than 150 female beef farmers who aim to promote the British beef industry (the organisation was co-founded by National Farmers Union president Minette Batters).

The event champions the role of beef within a healthy and balanced diet.

As a cattle farmer, I fervently believe that events like this are integral to helping support the farming industry and to communicate the quality and versatility of British beef.

  • Beef is a source of protein and contains eight essential vitamins and minerals (Niacin, vitamins B6 and B12, riboflavin, plus iron, zinc, potassium and phosphorus)
  • Beef is a source of iron which helps to reduce tiredness and fatigue
  • Beef is a source of iron which helps the immune system to work
  • Eating just 70g of lean beef steak provides the same amount of iron as 1,700g of spinach
  • Beef helps the body to get more iron from other foods when eaten together
  • Beef is a source of protein and phosphorous which are both needed for the normal growth and development of children’s bones

Here on the farm we pride ourselves on having happy cows. They are grass-fed on pasture in the summer and in the winter they are fed on home-grown hay.

We keep cows to continue the tradition of the farm, but more than anything else it is because we eat meat and want to know the provenance of the meat we eat. We want to breed grass-fed cattle that has a stress-free, content life and is well cared for.

Two of our girls (Photo: Chris Taylor Photo)

For us, it is important that we know this about all of the meat we eat. I’ve always been a meat eater and come from a line of farmers, humans have always been omnivores and meat helps to supply us with a rounded diet.

Although we have a constant supply of beef at hand we eat it as part of a varied diet together with other meats, vegetables, dairy and fish.

To mark Great British Beef Week, I will be cooking a different dish each day with our own beef. I’ll be blogging about it and sharing recipes as well as beef facts, information on beef cuts and a Q&A about life with cattle.

I aim to use a range of different cuts and produce both tried & tested dishes alongside new ones.

As it’s Monday I’ve chosen mince (#mincemonday). I think mince is an underrated ingredient, it’s versatile and great for staples such as spaghetti bolognaise, chilli con carne and lasagne, but it can offer so much more.

It can also be used for homemade burgers, meatballs, tacos, cottage pie and bobotie.

Bobotie is South Africa’s national dish and is pretty similar to moussaka. It’s a mixture of curried meat and fruit with a creamy golden topping – it’s delicious!

Today I’ve gone down a traditional route and made a chilli con carne. I love the spiciness of the dish and use plenty of onion, garlic, peppers, home-grown chillies and beans together with the mince. I always make a large batch and freeze servings of it so on the evenings when we’ve had a long day on the farm I can defrost it quickly for a tasty, fulfilling, nutritious and spicy supper.

Here is my recipe…

Chilli con carne

A super, spicy dish to warm the cockles of your heart after a long day. This makes enough for at least 12 people.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 3 large onions
  • 3 red, green or yellow peppers
  • 8 garlic cloves peeled
  • 3 heaped tsp hot chilli powder
  • 3 tsp paprika
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 1,500 g lean minced beef
  • 900 ml chicken stock
  • 3 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 6 tbsp tomato purée
  • 6 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 5 large dried red chillis chopped
  • 2 x 400g can red kidney beans
  • boiled long grain rice to serve
  • natural yoghurt to serve
  • coriander to serve
  • lime wedges to serve

Instructions

  1. Dice the onions into small cubes, chop the peppers roughly and peel and chop the garlic.
  2. Put a large pan on the hob over a medium heat. Heat the oil and add the onions, stirring often for about five minutes or until they are soft and translucent. Tip in the garlic, pepper, hot chilli powder, paprika and ground cumin. Stir, then leave it to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Turn the heat up a bit and add the mince to the pan, breaking it up as you go. Continue stirring for at least five minutes until all the mince is browned. The pan should be hot enough to brown the meat rather than stew in its own juices.
  4. Add the chicken stock to the pan with the mince mixture - I use homemade chicken stock. Add the chopped tomatoes, dried mixed herbs and season well. Then add the tomato purée, Worcestershire sauce and chillis and stir thoroughly.
  5. Bring the mixture to the boil, stir well and put the lid on the pan. Turn down the heat until it is gently simmering and leave it for 60 minutes. Stir occasionally and make sure the sauce doesn’t catch or is drying out - if it is add a dash of water.
  6. The sauce should be saucy and thick! Drain and rinse the beans and add them to the pot. Bring the mixture to the boil and simmer without the lid for around 30 minutes. You may need to add some water if it starts to look too dry.
  7. Taste and season if needed. Leave to stand before serving, of if you have time, make a day ahead to enable the chilli to deepen in flavour. Serve with rice, sprinkle with coriander and serve yoghurt and lime wedges on the side.

Recipe Notes

This recipe uses 1,500g of mince but could easily be scaled down

I’m interested in hearing what your favourite beef dishes are and what you use mince for. Do let me know – next Monday I’ll be cooking one of your suggestions…

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